South Korean stocks traded 0.79 percent lower late Thursday morning on widening losses in shares of tech companies and shipbuilders, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slid 15.92 percent to 2,004.82 as of 11:20 a.m.
STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, the country's fourth-largest shipyard, slumped more than 3 percent, with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, an affiliate of the world's No. 1 shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries, dipping 1.7 percent.
Top-cap Samsung Electronics also drove down the main index, retreating 2.2 percent.
In contrast, leading polysilicon manufacturer OCI shot up nearly 4 percent following analysts' sanguine outlook on the solar energy market.
The local currency was changing hands at 1,085.80 won against the greenback, down 3.2 won from Wednesday's close.