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S. Korean shares open lower on N. Korea threat

2016/03/23 09:28

SEOUL, March 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks opened lower Wednesday as investors were apparently spooked by a fresh threat from North Korea that it will wage a "retaliatory war" against Seoul's Park Geun-hye administration.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged down 0.76 point, or 0.04 percent, to 1,996.05 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Earlier in the day, a North Korean committee handling inter-Korean relations said Pyongyang and its army "will push for a retaliatory war to eliminate the United States and Park's followers in the name of justice."

   Most large market caps were in negative terrain with market bellwether Samsung Electronics remaining flat.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 0.68 percent, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors slipping 1.18 percent.

Defensive stocks were also on the downside with state-run power giant KEPCO losing 0.68 percent.

The local currency was changing hands at 1,156.80 won against the U.S. dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 3.20 won from Tuesday's close.