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Seoul shares open lower on U.S. shutdown woes

09:36 January 14, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened lower Monday as investors took to the sidelines on concerns over the possible impact of the longest-ever shutdown of the U.S. government on the global economy, analysts said.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 3.16 points, or 0.15 percent, to reach 2,072.41 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Investors are fretting over the shutdown of the American government, which entered its 23rd day as of Sunday (Washington time), creating the longest gap in its funding in history, analysts said.

Retail and institutions dumped local shares, offsetting solid buying by foreign investors.

Big-cap tech shares lost ground to weigh down the index.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics skidded 0.86 percent, and leading chipmaker SK hynix tumbled 2.3 percent.

Top-cap bio shares were mixed, with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion losing 1.62 percent and Samsung BioLogics surging 1.64 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,119.2 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.8 won from the previous session's close.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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