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Kospi dips as infections in Korea start rising

Feb 21,2020
Stocks closed lower Thursday on rising concerns of the spread of the coronavirus following a surge in the number of patients. The won sharply fell against the dollar.

The Kospi fell 14.84 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 2,195.50. This is the first time since Feb. 5 that the index fell below the 2,200-point mark.

Trading volume was high at 697 million shares worth 7.5 trillion won ($6.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 665 to 187.

The index had a strong start, tracking overnight Wall Street gains, but quickly fell below the flat line after local health authorities reported additional novel coronavirus infections, which by the end of the day had doubled.

The health authorities declared that the virus has begun spreading locally.

“Due to strong performance of U.S. stock markets, the index had a solid start. But investors started to sell stocks following the news that the number of novel coronavirus patients surged in Korea,” Seo Sang-yong, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said.

Institutional investors dumped a net 341 billion won worth of local shares. Foreigners bought a net 111 billion won, while retail investors scooped up a net 194 billion won.

Most large caps were in negative terrain.

Samsung Electronics slid 0.33 percent to 60,000 won, but chipmaker SK hynix advanced 0.48 percent to 104,000 won. Posco lost 0.46 percent to 215,500 won.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.14 percent to 130,000 won, and its affiliate company Kia Motors plunged 1.82 percent to 40,550 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis dropped 1.91 percent to 231,000 won.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics dropped 1.29 percent to 498,500 won, and Celltrion lost 1.38 percent to reach 179,000 won.

Korea’s cosmetics maker, Amorepacific, lost 2.39 percent to 183,500 won, and LG Household & Health Care, the homegrown beauty company, fell 2.70 percent to 1,372,000 won.The chemical firm LG Chem, however, surged 3.71 percent to 419,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,198.7 won against the dollar, sharply up 9.4 won from the previous session’s close.

The secondary Kosdaq was down 3.12 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 681.66.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds lost 5.5 basis points to 1.229 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond added 0.4 basis points to reach 1.564 percent.

BY KIM YEON-AH, YONHAP [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]


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