South Korean stocks got off to a weak start Thursday, tracking their US peers that ended bearish amid intensifying political turmoil surrounding President Donald Trump's alleged interference with a federal investigation, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index dropped 11.18 points, or 0.49 percent, to trade at 2,281.90 in the first 15 minutes of trading.
The US S&P 100 index marked its biggest fall in months Wednesday (local time), as investors opted for selling on worries that Trump's key agenda, including a tax cut, would not be carried out smoothly as the president faces scrutiny over his suspected interference to stop an FBI probe.
Shares on the Seoul bourse declined across the board, led by financial and chemical stocks. Major lender KB Financial Group dipped more than 2 percent, and Lotte Chemical slipped nearly 1 percent. Tech giant Samsung Electronics also lost about 1 percent.
Autos, however, gained ground, with auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis jumping 2.2 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,122.90 won against the US dollar as of 9:15 a.m., down 4.6 won from Wednesday's close. (Yonhap)