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Seoul stocks sink almost 5% on another looming wave of virus outbreak


South Korean stocks sank almost 5 percent amid rising concerns of a second wave of the new coronavirus pandemic, extending their losing streak to a third consecutive session and dashing hopes for a sharp rebound in the global economy. The Korean won sharply fell against the US dollar.

After a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,031.04, down 101.26 points, or 4.75 percent, the sharpest fall since March 23. Trading volume was high at about 1.06 billion shares worth some 18.02 trillion won ($14.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 837 to 55.

Individuals raked in a net 1.24 trillion won, while foreigners sold off a net 474.4 billion won, extending their selling streak to a fifth session. Institutions offloaded a net 764.2 billion won.

The KOSPI's plunge came amid rising woes over a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the wake of the global economic reopening.

"Investor sentiment seems to have worsened over concerns of a second wave of COVID-19, particularly in the US and China," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daeshin Securities.

The number of new cases is on a decline in New York, but it is steeply rising in some 20 other states, including Florida, analysts said.

The United States is one of South Korea's largest trade partners, along with China.

Most large caps closed lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics tumbled 4.59 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 3.76 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics advanced 0.37 percent, while leading automaker Hyundai Motor plunged 6.28 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,216.00 won against the US dollar, down 12.20 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 1.3 basis points to 0.854 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1.2 basis points to 1.082 percent. (Yonhap)