New virus infections spook market, Kospi falls 2.27%
Stocks tumbled more than 2 percent Thursday as new cases of the coronavirus surged, dimming investors' hopes for a quick global economic recovery, analysts said. The won fell against the dollar.
The Kospi shed 49.14 points, or 2.27 percent, to close at 2,112.37. Trading volume was heavy at 1 billion shares worth 10.6 trillion won ($8.8 billion), with losers far outnumbering winners 732 to 145.
Foreigners and institutional investors offloaded a net 280.3 billion won and 1.45 trillion won, respectively, while individuals scooped up a net 1.3 trillion won.
The index opened lower after U.S. stocks plunged due to an alarming increase in new Covid-19 infections in the country.
The World Health Organization said it expects the number of global Covid-19 cases to touch 10 million next week, with new daily cases in the United States surging to nearly 36,000 in the latest tally, close to the record high of 36,426 in late April.
"Renewed worries over the spread of Covid-19 infections weighed down the market," Lee Won, an analyst at Bookook Securities, said. "A surge in new Covid-19 cases is also affecting the market negatively as the prospect of a global economic recovery is being adjusted."
In Seoul, most large-cap shares closed bearish.
Samsung Electronics lost 1.89 percent to close at 51,900 won, and SK hynix finished 1.98 percent lower at 84,300 won.
Hyundai Motor was down 3.5 percent at 99,400 won. LG Chem shed 3.29 percent to 499,000 won, and Posco dropped 2.7 percent to 180,000 won.
Bio shares were also bearish. Pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics was down 0.49 percent to end at 815,000 won, and another bio firm Celltrion lost 0.94 percent to 316,000 won.
The won closed at 1,204.7 won against the dollar, up 5.3 won from Wednesday's close.
The secondary Kosdaq was down 9.14 points, or 1.20 percent, to close at 750.36.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.1 basis points to 0.817 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond added 3.6 basis points to reach 0.68 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [email@example.com]