Markets rattled after grim Fed comments
Stocks closed lower Thursday as investor sentiment was dented by a grim forecast for global economic recovery amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The won fell against the dollar.
The Kospi shed 15.46 points, or 0.80 percent, to close at 1,924.96.
Trading volume was high at 744 million shares worth 9.3 trillion won ($7.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 638 to 229.
The index never moved above the flatline throughout the session.
Analysts said investors focused on the bleak outlook from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who delivered an assessment predicting a slow economic recovery from the novel coronavirus fallout.
Growing concerns over renewed trade tensions between the United States and China also weighed down the local market, analysts added.
"Powell's comments were not helpful since it can lead to continued foreign sell-offs here," Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, said.
Foreigners dumped a net 552 billion won, while institutions sold a net 238 billion won worth of local stocks. Individuals scooped up a net 785 billion won on the Seoul bourse.
Most large-cap stocks ended in negative terrain.
Samsung Electronics plunged 1.13 percent to 48,000 won and chipmaker SK hynix tumbled 3.59 percent to 80,600 won.
Korea's top automaker, Hyundai Motor, lost 0.86 percent to 92,300 won, while auto parts producer Hyundai Mobis declined 0.59 percent to 169,500 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem dipped 2.13 percent to 344,500 won, and leading steelmaker Posco dropped 2.89 percent to 168,000 won.
However, pharmaceutical giant Celltrion advanced 0.93 percent to 217,000 won, while Kakao, which runs the nation's leading mobile messenger app, KakaoTalk, jumped 3.93 percent to 225,000 won.
The won closed at 1,228.00 won against the dollar, up 4.20 won from the previous session's close.
The secondary Kosdaq was down 0.96 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 690.57.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds added 1.6 basis points to 0.871 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 2.1 basis points to reach 0.64 percent.
BY KIM YEON-AH, YONHAP [email@example.com]