SEOUL, Sept. 24 — South Korean shares opened sharply lower Thursday, taking a cue from a plunge in tech stocks on Wall Street.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 33.58 points, or 1.44 percent, to 2,299.66 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Investor sentiment worsened as key U.S. stock indexes tumbled, with tech shares leading the market slump.

The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite plummeted 3.02 percent to 10,632.99 on Wednesday (New York time). The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.92 percent, and the S&P 500 was down 2.37 percent.

In Seoul, most large caps traded lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.02 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 1.56 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics fell 1.99 percent, and Celltrion shed 2.07 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver retreated 2.36 percent, with its rival Kakao dipping 2.46 percent.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem gained 1.11 percent, but rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 1.95 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, declined 2.51 percent, and top steelmaker POSCO lost 1.03 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,169.35 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.95 won from the previous session’s close.