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(LEAD) Seoul shares close sharply lower on fears over economic slowdown

All News 16:29 January 03, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks plunged to a more than two-year low on Thursday on ballooning fears over a global economic slowdown. The local currency sharply lost ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 16.30 points, or 0.81 percent, to end at 1,993.70. It marked the lowest closing price since Dec. 7, 2016, when the index was 1,991.89.

Trade volume was moderate at 424.2 million shares worth 5.32 trillion won (US$4.72 billion), with decliners beating gainers 528 to 303.

Institutions led the decline, dumping a net 168.8 billion won worth of local shares, while foreign investors purchased a net 102.4 billion won.

"Investors turned their attention to growth issues," said Kim Young-hwan from KB Research. "The global economy seems to be losing steam, led by sluggish Chinese data."

China's poor manufacturing activities data for December created concerns about an economic slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

Chipmakers were the largest losers here as U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. cut its outlook last night, citing poor sales in China.

Samsung Electronics, one of the biggest chip providers of Apple, sank 2.97 percent to 37,600 won, and SK hynix tumbled 4.79 percent to 57,700 won.

Parts supplier LG Innotek, a camera module maker, also moved down 2.39 percent to 81,700 won.

Leading game maker NCsoft fell 2.68 percent to 454,500 won, and Netmarble dropped 1.89 percent to 104,000 won.

But Hyundai Motor rebounded 2.19 percent to 116,500 won, and its sister Kia Motors edged up 0.15 percent to 32,850 won.

The South Korean won traded at a two-week low of 1,127.7 won against the U.S. dollar, down 8.7 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys dipped 0.6 basis point to 1.796 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds edged down 0.4 basis point to 1.869 percent.

(LEAD) Seoul shares close sharply lower on fears over economic slowdown - 1


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