Stocks at 8-month low as coronavirus spreads

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Stocks at 8-month low as coronavirus spreads

Stocks in Korea sank to a more than eight-month low on Tuesday, with the local currency also falling sharply against the dollar.

The Kospi lost 69.41 points, or 3.09 percent, to close at 2,176.72. Trading volume was high at 800 million shares, worth 8.64 trillion won ($7.34 billion). Losers far outnumbered gainers 816 to 82.

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The Tuesday closing marked the steepest decline since the 3.18 percent drop posted on March 23, 2018, and the lowest since 2,176.99 points posted on May 7, 2019.

The local financial market was closed on Friday and Monday for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Foreigners sold a net 523 billion won, extending their selling streak to a fourth consecutive session. Retail investors bought a net 668 billion won, while institutions dumped a net 192 billion won.

Losers outweighed winners 816 to 82 with 11 remaining unchanged.

Samsung Electronics moved down 3.29 percent to 58,800 won, and chipmaker SK Hynix slid 2.43 percent to 96,300 won. LG Display shed 1.68 percent, closing at 14,600 won.

Lotte Shopping plunging 7.31 percent to 120,500 won and retail giant Emart lost 3.81 percent to close at 113,500 won. Hotel Shilla fell 10.31 percent to 87,000 won.

Food stuff producers also finished weaker, with Orion losing 5.53 percent to 102,500 won and CJ Cheiljedang sliding 2.81 percent to 242,500 won. Hite Jinro, a major liquor producer, shed 3.68 percent to 31,450 won.

But not all major companies retreated on Tuesday.

Hyundai Motor rose 0.38 percent to close at 131,000 won while Samsung SDI gained half a percent to close at 285,000 won.

And Monalisa, a face mask producer, increased by the daily permissible limit of 29.86 percent to 8,090 won, as the demand for hygiene products has been running high here.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics moved up 2.28 percent to 494,000 won while another pharmaceutical company, Celltrion, fell 2.85 percent to 170,500 won.

The secondary Kosdaq was down 20.87 points, or 3.04 percent, to close at 664.70.

The local currency closed at 1,176.70 won to the dollar, up 8 won from the previous session’s close, its value sinking to a two-month low.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds shed 6.9 basis points to stand at 1.353 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond shed 7.7 basis points to reach 1.60 percent.

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