SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened lower Monday on losses by auto-related shares in the wake of a paused partnership between South Korean carmaker Kia Corp. and U.S. tech behemoth Apple Inc.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 20.01 points, or 0.64 percent, to 3,100.62 in the first 15 minutes of trading amid strong foreign selling.

Auto shares dipped following reports that Apple recently paused its partnership discussions with Kia. The U.S. tech giant has been reportedly in talks with multiple carmakers globally about producing its electric vehicles and batteries.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor slumped 6.81 percent, with its smaller affiliates Kia and Hyundai Mobis plunging 13.4 percent and 7.94 percent, respectively.

Samsung Electronics lost 0.36 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix moved down 1.18 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 2.82 percent, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI edged up 0.13 percent.

Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics went up 0.25 percent, and Celltrion gained 0.73 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,118.65 won against the U.S. dollar, up 5.05 won from the previous session’s close.