8-day winning streak comes to end on virus concerns
Korean shares snapped an eight-session winning streak Thursday, as growing lockdown concerns in major economies sapped investor sentiment. The won fell against the dollar.
After a choppy session, the benchmark Kospi fell 10.25 points, or 0.41 percent, to close at 2,475.62.
Trading volume was high at about 1.3 billion shares worth some 15.7 trillion won ($14.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 443 to 402.
Foreigners bought a net 490 billion won, with retail investors purchasing a net 355 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 862 billion won.
The Kospi got off to a weak start after the benchmark index hit an over two-year high the previous session over vaccine hopes.
Stocks fared poorly amid toughened Covid-19 quarantine measures in major economies.
Korean authorities are also mulling stronger social distancing guidelines, as local cases continued to rise by triple digits for a fifth day Thursday.
"It is notable that the actual mass injections of the Covid-19 vaccine would take a considerable time," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
"Certain levels of lockdowns may be inevitable in order to handle the outbreaks, and that would cause some economic slowdowns," he added.
In Seoul, most large caps closed lower.
Samsung Electronics lost 0.49 percent to 61,000 won, but chipmaker SK hynix added 1.26 percent to 88,100 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 1.05 percent to 753,000 won, and Celltrion dipped 1.52 percent to 292,000 won.
Internet portal Naver slipped 0.36 percent to 279,000 won, but its rival Kakao climbed 0.56 percent to 357,500 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem closed flat at 692,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI moved up 0.59 percent to 515,000 won.
Hyundai Motor declined 0.85 percent to 174,000 won, and steelmaker Posco shed 0.84 percent to 236,500 won.
Shipping company Korea Line rose 29.91 percent to 3,040 won, on hopes that the trade spat between China and the United States will ease once President-elect Joe Biden is in office.
The Kosdaq gained 0.18 points, or 0.02 percent, to close at 840.08.
The local currency closed at 1,114.8 won per dollar, up 4.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds shed 1.9 basis points to close at 0.97 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added 2.9 basis points to close at 0.96 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [email@example.com]