South Korean stocks extended losses late Wednesday morning as investors offloaded large-cap stocks amid falling crude prices and deepening woes over the new coronavirus.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 28.66 points, or 1.52 percent, to 1,850.72 as of 11:15 a.m. The index dropped 1.8 percent in the past two sessions.
For the remainder of the week, lower oil prices and poor corporate earnings results set to be released from this week are adding to woes of investors, analysts said.
"Investors remain cautious as local manufacturers such as Hyundai Motor are expected to announce poor first-quarter business results this month," Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co., said.
Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 324 billion won ($304 million) worth of stocks, offsetting individuals' stock buying valued at 326 billion won.
Most large-cap stocks retreated.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 1.2 percent, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. declined 4 percent, leading steelmaker POSCO shed 2.9 percent, and leading refiner SK Innovation Co. was down 3.1 percent.
But airline stocks advanced as the government plans to inject 40 trillion won into the country's backbone industries, including the airline sector, hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Korean Air Lines Co., the country's biggest and national flag carrier, rose 1 percent, No. 2 full-service carrier Asiana Airlines Inc. jumped 7.9 percent and No. 1 low-cost carrier Jeju Air Co. rose 1.5 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,236.25 won against the US dollar, down 6.55 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)