Kospi loses almost 1% on Middle East jitters

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Kospi loses almost 1% on Middle East jitters

Stocks tumbled by almost 1 percent on Monday amid military tensions in the Middle East that are sending global oil prices skyrocketing. The Korean won lost ground against the dollar.

The Kospi lost 21.39 points, or 0.98 percent, to close at 2,155.07. Trading volume was moderate at about 587.5 million shares worth some 5.1 trillion won ($4.35 billion), with losers outnumbering winners 783 to 101.


Global stock prices began to decline late last week when Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad, prompting fresh tensions in one of the world’s largest crude-producing regions.

The price of WTI crude jumped 3.1 percent to $63.10 per barrel on Friday, with that of Brent crude also surging 3.6 percent.

WTI crude futures and Brent futures again spiked 1.98 percent and 3.55 percent, respectively, as of 3:30 p.m. Monday.

LG Chem tumbled 1.29 percent to 307,000 won, with refiner SK Innovation shedding 1 percent to 148,000 won.

Most large caps also ended up in negative terrain.

Samsung Electronics remained flat at 55,500 won, but chipmaker SK Hynix slipped 0.21 percent to 94,300 won, with pharmaceutical company Celltrion plunging 2.54 percent to 173,000 won.

Hyundai Motor remained flat at 116,000 won.

Posco lost 2.53 percent.

Individuals scooped up a net 236 billion won, but institutions offloaded a net 320 billion won. Foreigners purchased a net 99 billion won, becoming net buyers for a second consecutive session.

The secondary Kosdaq market closed 2.18 percent, or 14.62 points lower than on Friday.

With growing uncertainties over the global economy, investors apparently sought safer assets, pushing up local gold prices to a four-month high.

Gold closed at 59,490 won per gram, up 2.71 percent from the previous session, reaching the highest since 59,260 won tallied on Aug. 22.

The local currency closed at 1,172.10 won to the dollar, up 5.0 won from the previous session’s close.

The secondary Kosdaq shed 14.62 points, or 2.18 percent, to close at 655.31.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds added 0.7 basis point to 1.276 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 8.8 basis points to 1.78 percent.

BY KIM YEON-AH [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]
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