SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) — South Korean shares opened sharply lower Thursday on an overnight Wall Street plunge, as the new coronavirus outbreaks in the major global economies continued to surge at an alarming rate.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 25.96 points, or 1.11 percent, to 2,319.3 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Investor sentiment grew risk-averse, as a resurgence in virus cases in the United States and Europe raised concerns that the worsening pandemic may deliver heavy damage to the global economy.

The U.S. daily COVID-19 hospitalization soared in the past week, with heavily populated parts of Europe tightening quarantine measures.

Amid the global virus frenzy, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 3.43 percent on Wednesday (New York time). The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite tumbled 3.73 percent, and the S&P 500 plummeted 3.53 percent.

In Seoul, most large caps traded lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 1.02 percent. The tech giant reported robust third-quarter earnings shortly before the session’s open.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.33 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.94 percent, but Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, retreated 1.44 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver shed 0.67 percent, with its rival Kakao dipping 1.88 percent.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem fell 0.93 percent, and top steelmaker POSCO declined 1.39 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,133.75 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.15 won from the previous session’s close.