Seoul stocks down as Covid-19 spike spooks investors
Stocks finished lower Monday as investors remained wary of the spike in coronavirus cases. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi retreated 7.86 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 2,762.2 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 16.8 trillion won ($15.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 577 to 276.
Foreigners sold a net 368 billion won, while retail investors purchased 1 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 701 billion won.
Stocks widened losses after a choppy start, as the country's new Covid-19 cases broke the 1,000 mark for the first time Sunday and topped 700 on Monday.
President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that the government is raising the social distancing scheme to the highest Level 3 if the current pace is maintained.
"The possibility of raising the social distancing alert to Level 3 may have reduced foreign investors' appetite for risky assets," HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun said.
Most large caps closed mixed in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics added 0.54 percent to 73,800 won, and chipmaker SK hynix advanced 1.3 percent to 117,000 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics lost 0.98 percent to 812,000 won, and Celltrion shed 0.97 percent to 357,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver moved down 1.38 percent to 286,000 won, with its rival Kakao slipping 0.27 percent to 373,500 won.
Online game maker NCSoft lost 0.34 percent to 885,000 won, while rival Netmarble dropped 1.56 percent to 126,500 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, declined 0.53 percent to 189,000 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors lost 0.78 percent to 63,200 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem dipped 1.86 percent to 793,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI lost 1.26 percent to 549,000 won.
Amorepacific lost 2.08 percent to 211,500 won, and Korean Air moved down 3.52 percent to 27,400 won. Asiana Airlines plunged 10.96 percent to close at 4,470 won.
Steelmaker Posco dropped 1.07 percent to 276,500 won.
The Kosdaq rose 1.1 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 929.54.
The local currency closed at 1,091.8 won against the dollar, up 1.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The return on the three-year bond added 0.6 basis points to close at 0.986 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond lost 0.9 basis points to close at 0.89 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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