Stocks drop 1 percent as variant and U.S. data weigh
Stocks retreated 1 percent Monday amid concerns about the resurgence of new coronavirus cases and mixed signals in the U.S. economic indicators. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi slumped 32.87 points to close at 3,244.04 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 12.6 trillion won ($11 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 679 to 184.
Foreigners sold a net 458 billion won, while retail investors bought 939 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 459 billion won.
Stocks retreated as the fourth wave of Covid-19 at home weakened investor sentiment for risky assets.
The infection of 247 South Korean sailors in waters off Africa — the worst mass infection case in the recent resurgence of the virus — sent shock waves across Korea, raising concerns about the highly contagious variant.
Mixed economic indicators in the United States also increased foreign selling.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.86 percent on the disappointing consumer sentiment index that offset optimism from retail sales. The Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 lost 0.8 percent and 0.75 percent, respectively.
"The [U.S. indicators] and the spreading Delta variant infections seem to have affected the investor sentiment and dragged down local stock prices," Daeshin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min said.
Most large caps retreated, with losses on tech, auto and financial stocks leading the Kospi’s fall.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics shed 1 percent to 79,000 won, and chipmaker SK hynix retreated 2.06 percent to 119,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver moved down 0.89 percent to 443,000 won, and carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.09 percent to 227,500 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem lost 0.97 percent to 820,000 won, while pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics advanced 1.89 percent to 916,000 won.
KB Financial Group lost 2.67 percent to 51,100 won.
The Kosdaq lost 2.15 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 1,049.83.
The local currency closed at 1,147.08 won to the dollar, up 8.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds added 1.4 basis points to 1.459 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 0.5 basis point to 1.29 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE [email@example.com], YONHAP