SEOUL, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) — South Korean shares opened flat Tuesday after hitting a nearly three-year high the previous session, as valuation pressure offset optimism over Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.1 point to 2,542.93 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks traded choppy after a 1.97 percent gain the previous session. Valuation pressure, along with the unrelenting coronavirus toll, increased investor caution.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 0.75 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.82 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem edged up 0.15 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI advanced 1.44 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics traded flat, but Celltrion dipped 2.08 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest carmaker, moved up 1.68 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver fell 0.72 percent, and its rival Kakao dropped 0.69 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,107.3 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2 won from the previous session’s close.

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