Stocks drop on Russian military operations in Ukraine
Stocks plunged more than two percent Thursday as investor sentiment worsened over Russia's military operations in eastern Ukraine. The won steeply fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi tumbled 70.73 points, or 2.6 percent, to close at 2,648.80 points.
Trading volume was high at about 904 million shares worth some 13.1 trillion won ($10.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 797 to 108.
Foreigners dumped a net 689 billion won, and institutions offloaded 486 billion won, while retail investors bought 1.1 trillion won.
Stocks opened sharply lower, taking a cue from stock plunges on Wall Street that stemmed from military tensions in Ukraine.
Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite tumbled 2.57 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.38 percent.
Stock losses deepened at home and around the world in the afternoon, briefly touching the intraday bottom of 2,642.63 points, after reports Russian forces attacked targets across Ukraine.
"Overall, growing concerns related to the Ukraine crisis raised volatility in the financial markets. The U.S. bond yields steeply increased, markets grew unstable, and the intensifying tensions in Ukraine have further pulled down the stock prices," said Daeshin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min.
The Bank of Korea held the benchmark rate at 1.25 percent earlier in the morning on Thursday, citing fallout from the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis.
Samsung Electronics lost 2.05 percent to 71,500 won, and chipmaker SK hynix dipped 4.67 percent to 122,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver retreated 2.1 percent to 302,500 won, and carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 4.16 percent to 173,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem plunged 6.79 percent to 549,000 won, and battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 5.77 percent to 416,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,202.4 won against the dollar, up 8.8 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq lost 29.12 points, or 3.32 percent, to close at 848.21 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 9.5 basis points to 2.225 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond climbed 5.3 basis points to 1.99 percent.
BY SHIN HA-NEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]