SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks opened steeply lower Wednesday amid strong institutional and foreign selling, led by tech and auto losses.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 27.65 points, or 0.87 percent, to 3,135.6 points in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Stocks came off to a lackluster start as the KOSPI’s three-day gain increased valuation pressure, in addition to the yield hike concerns on Wall Street.

Top cap Samsung Electronics lost 1.41 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 1.89 percent.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 1.21 percent, and giant internet portal operator Naver fell 1.14 percent.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics declined 1.13 percent, with Celltrion retreating 1.69 percent.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved down 0.72 percent, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI climbed 0.37 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,109.7 won against the U.S. dollar, down 9.6 won from the previous session’s close.