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Kospi falls to 9-year low; Won drops to decade record

Mar 18,2020
The won plummeted to a 10-year low Tuesday, falling 17.50 won to close at 1,243.50 against the dollar, while stocks fell sharply for the fifth consecutive session.

The benchmark Kospi plunged 42.42 points, or 2.47 percent, to close at 1,672.44, the lowest closing in nine years, when the corresponding figure was 1,666.52 points.

Trading volume was moderate, at 641 million shares worth 9.5 trillion won ($7.65 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 635 to 238.

After falling more than 4 percent at the opening bell, the market trimmed some of the losses and briefly stayed in positive terrain as individuals and institutions sought bargains, offsetting another selling spree by foreign investors.

“Despite the rate cut from the central bank, the market is facing jitters as investors are still dumping shares on virus-ridden fear,” said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.

Foreigners were net sellers for a ninth consecutive session, dumping 1 trillion won, while institutions bought a net 356 billion won and retail investors scooped up 600 billion won.

Most large-cap stocks plunged across the board.

Samsung Electronics moved down 3.27 percent to 47,300 won, and chipmaker SK hynix fell 0.25 percent to 80,400 won.

Stocks of pharmaceutical firms closed mixed. Samsung BioLogics moved down 2.91 percent to 417,500 won and Hanmi Pharmaceutical slid 0.62 percent to 239,500 won. Celltrion, on the other hand, increased 1.51 percent to 168,000 won.

Auto shares were in negative territory. Hyundai Motor decreased 3.38 percent to 80,100 won and Kia Motors plunged 6.46 percent to 25,350 won. Auto parts producer Hyundai Mobis shed 5.57 percent, closing at 152,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq was up 10.22 points or 2.03 percent to close at 514.73, with individual investors dumping close to 334 billion won in assets.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds fell 8.1 basis points to 1.032 percent, and the return on the 10-year government bonds shed 24.7 basis points to 0.73 percent.

BY KANG JAE-EUN, YONHAP [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]


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