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Seoul stocks spike almost 4% on hopes of virus treatment

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korean stocks soared by almost 4 percent on Monday, extending their gains to a third straight session on hopes of potential treatment for the new coronavirus that has infected more than 1.2 million people around the world.

The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 66.44 points, or 3.85 percent, to 1,791.88.

Institutional investors bought a net 1.03 trillion won ($838 million), while foreign investors sold a net 202 billion won, extending their selling streak to a 23rd session.

Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co., said the main index received a boost amid positive news about the use of Gilead Sciences' remdesivir against COVID-19.

Daniel O'Day, chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences, said Saturday that multiple clinical trials for remdesivir are under way, involving thousands of patients with COVID-19 across the world.

He said that remdesivir, which is still an investigational medicine, may have the potential to treat the novel coronavirus.

In South Korea, the novel coronavirus has killed 186 people, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses. Its virus cases topped 10,000.

In Seoul, most large-cap stocks rose across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 3.62 percent to 48,700 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was up 4.40 percent to 83,100 won and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. gained 2.90 percent to 88,800 won.

The local currency closed at 1,229.30 won against the US dollar, up 1.60 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
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