Biggest foreign sell-off ever takes Kospi down 1.17 percent
Stocks dipped more than 1 percent Monday, as foreign net sales soared to an all-time high amid pandemic fears. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi lost 27.63 points, or 1.17 percent, to close at 2,326.17. Trading volume was high at about 1.6 billion shares worth some 19 trillion won ($16 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 498 to 350.
The index started out strong on dovish signals from the Fed but turned to a loss on disappointing Covid-19 case numbers.
Foreigners dumped a net 1.63 trillion won, the largest-ever foreign Kospi sell-off in a day. Retail investors purchased a net 1.57 trillion won, while institutions offloaded a net 5.7 billion won.
"Major foreign sell-offs in chip and other tech shares drove the Kospi down," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.
"Investor sentiment seems to have weakened from the spreading social distancing move," he added.
Korea added 248 new Covid-19 cases, marking a drop from 299 cases identified the previous day. But health authorities said the drop may have resulted from fewer virus tests over the weekend.
Most large caps finished lower.
Samsung Electronics lost 2.53 percent to 54,000 won, with chipmaker SK hynix dipping 3.47 percent to 75,100 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 2.63 percent to 778,000 won, and Celltrion fell 2.46 percent to 297,000 won.
Chemicals firm LG Chem dipped 2.5 percent to 740,000 won, and Naver sank 3.15 percent to 322,500 won.
Game publisher NCSoft lost 3.62 percent to 825,000 won, while rival Netmarble spiked 9.18 percent to 166,500 won.
Among gainers, automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.62 percent to 176,500 won, with Kakao adding 0.37 percent to 407,000 won.
The Kosdaq added 6.94 points, or 0.82 percent, to close at 848.24.
The local currency closed at 1,187.8 won per dollar, up 3.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds added 4.5 basis points to 0.940 percent, and the yield on ten-year government bonds lost 3.6 basis points to 0.71 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]