Stocks continue to tumble as Covid cases surge to record high
Stocks fell for the fifth consecutive session Wednesday as a record-high number of Covid-19 cases dented investor sentiment. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi retreated 22.57 points, or 0.7 percent, to close at 3,220.62 points.
Trading volume was high at 608.3 million shares worth some 18.95 trillion won ($16.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 563 to 299.
Foreigner investors offloaded a net 1.6 trillion won worth of shares, while institutions sold a net 192 billion won. Retail investors scooped up a net 1.78 trillion won.
The key index got off to a weak start as the country reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases at 2,223.
Daily coronavirus cases have recently been on the rise, remaining above 1,000 for over a month, despite the implementation of the strictest social-distancing measures in the capital area.
The Kospi extended losses as semiconductor shares slumped on expectations of falling memory chip prices.
Market researcher TrendForce said in a report Tuesday that personal computer DRAM prices are forecast to fall by up to 5 percent on-quarter in the final quarter of the year due to PC manufacturers' high inventory.
The forecast weighed on semiconductor-related shares overnight on Wall Street and took a toll on local chip stocks, according to analysts.
"Concerns of falling DRAM prices [...] had an impact on Samsung Electronics and SK hynix," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Kwang-nam said. "Investor sentiment toward major electronic shares weakened, while increased foreign selling added pressure (on the index)."
Samsung Electronics skid 2.12 percent to 78,500 won, while chipmaker SK hynix tumbled 6.22 percent to 105,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver slipped 0.34 percent to 445,000 won, and its rival Kakao fell 1.71 percent to 144,000 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.23 percent to 218,500 won, while pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics jumped 2.96 percent to 975,000 won.
The Kosdaq lost 0.15 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 1,051.92.
The local currency closed at 1,156.4 won to the dollar, up 6.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.4 basis points to 1.419 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 3.4 basis points to 1.35 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [email@example.com]