Stocks drop 1.5%, ending 7-day bull run
Stocks snapped their seven-day winning streak to plunge 1.5 percent on Wednesday, as investors attempted to cash in recent gains. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 49.04 points, or 1.52 percent, to close at 3,171.66.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.7 billion shares worth some 16.7 trillion won ($14.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 597 to 277.
Foreigners sold a net 1.43 trillion won, while retail investors purchased a net 2.71 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 1.28 trillion won.
The stock index gained for the past seven days until Tuesday amid expectations of a global economic rebound and better earnings reports in the January-March season.
Stocks increasingly lost ground in the late afternoon amid an intensifying foreign selling binge which centered around chemicals, tech and heavy industries.
"The Kospi faced minor resistance after making relatively steady gains since late last month," Samsung securities analyst Seo Jeong-hoon said.
"The spreading of the new coronavirus in Asia seems to have nudged investors into selling for profit," he said.
Most large caps closed lower in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics shed 1.55 percent to 82,600 won, and chipmaker SK hynix dipped 4.33 percent to 132,500 won.
Internet portal Naver declined 2.69 percent to 380,500 won, with its rival Kakao decreasing 1.26 percent to 118,000 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.53 percent to 225,500 won, and its sister company Kia dropped 2.44 percent to 83,800 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem fell 3.25 percent 864,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI lost 2.75 percent to 671,000 won. SK Innovation dropped 1.68 percent to 264,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics dropped 0.48 percent to 833,000 won. Celltrion dipped 3.14 percent to 290,500 won.
Online game maker NCSoft dropped 2.83 percent to 857,000 won, and its rival Netmarble lost 1.36 percent to 145,500 won.
The Kosdaq lost 9.66 points, or 0.94 percent to close at 1,022.22 points.
The local currency closed at 1,118.6 won to the dollar, up 6.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bond lost 2.4 basis points to 1.110 percent, and the yield on the benchmark ten-year government bond fell 4.1 basis points to 1.56 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]