Stocks decline as Covid-19 Seoul cluster concerns grow
Stocks closed lower Monday paring early gains due to growing concerns over a Covid-19 cluster infection. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi slid 10.42 points, or 0.54 percent, to finish at 1,935.40. Trading volume was moderate at 581 million shares worth 7.6 trillion won ($6.23 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 529 to 316.
After opening higher, local shares slipped into negative terrain on growing concerns over a new cluster infection in Seoul.
The number of infections linked to nightclubs and bars in the central district of Itaewon totaled 86 nationally as of noon.
The country had been adding fewer than 15 cases of the new coronavirus infections since mid-April, with the number of domestic infections even falling to zero at some points, before rebounding to 35 cases Monday.
"The market is expected to experience ups and downs depending on the related reports on the new wave of infections in the country," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.
The market slump, however, was still limited on the rising hope over the resumption of global business activities, with major nations deciding to gradually lift all-out lockdowns.
Foreigners dumped a net 170 billion won while individuals scooped up a net 512 billion won. Institutions sold more shares than they bought at 363 billion won.
In Seoul, blue chips mostly closed lower.
Samsung Electronics moved down 0.82 percent to 48,400 won, and chipmaker SK hynix slid 0.59 percent to 84,500 won. Battery maker Samsung SDI, on the other hand, edged up 0.53 percent to 287,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem decreased 1.7 percent to 346,500 won, and local cosmetics maker Amorepacific shed 3.31 percent to 175,500 won.
Retail giant Emart lost 2.62 percent to 111,500 won, while GS Retail moved up 1.06 percent to 38,050 won.
Carmakers finished mixed, with Hyundai Motor losing 0.85 percent to 93,700 won, while its sister Kia Motors gained 0.16 percent to 30,550 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis slid 1.99 percent to 172,500 won.
The secondary Kosdaq gained 2.74 points or 0.40 percent to close at 685.04.
The Korean won closed at 1,220.50 won against the dollar, up 0.6 won from the previous session.
BY KANG JAE-EUN, YONHAP [email@example.com]