Virus panic hits Kospi for third day in a row
Stocks extended their losing streak to a third consecutive session Tuesday following a U.S. stock plunge over concerns that new coronavirus variants may deter economic recovery. The Korean won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi retreated 11.34 points, or 0.35 percent, to close at 3,232.7 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 963 million shares worth some 15.1 trillion won ($13.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 680 to 192.
Foreigners sold a net 173 billion won, while retail investors bought 38 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 152 billion won.
Virus worries continued to pull down the Kospi after the key stock index's 1 percent retreat the previous session.
Overnight, the big-three U.S. stock indexes tumbled, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average declining 2.09 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 were down 1.06 percent and 1.59 percent, respectively.
Korea's new daily cases topped the 1,200 threshold for two weeks, prompting authorities to tighten virus curbs ahead of the summer holiday season.
Investor appetite for risk remained weak despite high expectations for second quarter earnings.
"Investors seem to be worried that the resurgence of the delta variant could turn down the corporate earnings forecast for the second half this year," Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said.
Most large caps closed lower in Seoul, while bio heavyweights advanced.
Samsung Electronics closed unchanged at 79,000 won, and chipmaker SK hynix retreated 0.42 percent to 118,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver moved down 0.9 percent to 439,000 won, and carmaker Hyundai Motor edged down 0.22 percent to 227,000 won. Chemical maker LG Chem lost 0.61 percent to 815,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics lost 0.33 percent to 913,000 won, while Celltrion jumped 3.8 percent to 273,000 won.
The Kosdaq lost 6.19 points, or 0.59 percent, to close at 1,043.64.
The local currency closed at 1,150.4 won to the dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 5.1 basis points to 1.408 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 1.19 basis points to 1.19 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]