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Seoul stocks shed nearly 2% amid renewed virus fears

A sign at the Korea Exchange shows the Monday’s closing prices of two major stock indexes. (KRX)
A sign at the Korea Exchange shows the Monday’s closing prices of two major stock indexes. (KRX)

South Korean stocks dipped about 2 percent Monday, amid renewed fears over the coronavirus outbreak promoted by a resurgence in new confirmed cases over the weekend. The Korean won continued to rise against the US dollar.

The nation’s main bourse Kospi opened sharply lower at 2,105.54 -- down 29.11 points, or 1.36 percent, from the previous session’s close. The index continued to move downward to 2,087.84 in late trading hours. It was the first time that the index has dropped below the 2,100-point mark since June 16. The index then closed at 2,093.48.

Foreign investors turned net sellers and dumped 230.4 billion won ($192.29 million) worth shares. Institutional investors extended sell-offs for the third consecutive session, hammering about 350.9 billion won during the trading session.

The tech-heavy Kosdaq began at 743.88, down 6.7 points, or 0.89 percent, from the previous session. The index continued to fall throughout the day to close at 734.69. It was the first time the index moved below 740 points since June 19, at 732.55. Foreign and institutional investors sold a combined 213.9 billion won of stocks.

The sliding local stock indexes’ trend was also attributed to Wall Street losses on Friday. With the US hitting a record high in daily new infections, the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 2.84 percent to close at 25,015.55. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq dropped 2.42 percent and 2.59 percent, respectively.

“Investor sentiments were weighed down as the number of confirmed virus cases exceeded 10 million around the globe and economic revival was put on the brakes,” said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities. “Amid the fast-spreading COVID-19, the short-term volatility is expected to be expanded.”

The local currency rose against the greenback, closing at 1,198.60 won per dollar, up 2 won from the previous session’s close.

By Jie Ye-eun (
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Korea Herald daum