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(LEAD) Seoul stocks shed 1.7 pct as new coronavirus fear escalates

All News 16:32 January 30, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, Jan. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks again fell into negative terrain Thursday, dipping 1.7 percent as foreigners and institutions dumped local shares amid growing concerns over the fast-spreading coronavirus around the globe. The South Korean won sharply lost ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 37.28 points, or 1.71 percent, to close at 2,148.00. Trade volume was moderate at 594 million shares worth 7 trillion won (US$5.9 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 752 to 112.

Despite a slight rebound in the previous sessions, investors' appetite for risky assets weakened amid growing economic uncertainties stemming from the fast-spreading virus, believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

A staff watches computer monitors at KEB Hana Bank in downtown Seoul on Jan. 30, 2020. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 37.28 points, or 1.71 percent, to close at 2,148.00 amid growing concerns over the fast-spreading coronavirus around the globe. (Yonhap)

The virus has killed 170 people so far and contaminated over 7,700 people across the world. No additional Wuhan coronavirus cases, meanwhile, have been reported here since Monday, when the fourth patient was confirmed.

"The new coronavirus is still weighing on investor sentiment," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co.

Foreign investors offloaded a net 279.2 billion won worth of stocks, and retail investors bought a net 663 billion won. Institutions dumped a net 441 billion won.

Top tech giant Samsung Electronics slipped 3.21 percent to 57,200 won after the firm said its fourth-quarter net profit dropped 38.2 percent on-year on an extended slump in the memory chip sector.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix plunged 3.98 percent to 94,000 won, and LG Electronics finished unchanged at 67,200 won.

Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor slipped 2.67 percent to 127,500 won, and its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis moved down 1.04 percent to 237,000 won. Kia Motors decreased 1.41 percent to 41,950 won.

No. 1 cosmetics giant AmorePacific surrendered 4.2 percent to 194,000 won, and LG Household & Health Care decreased 2.62 percent to 1,262,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,185.00 to the U.S. greenback, down 7.8 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.9 basis points to 1.301 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond also lost 3.8 basis points to reach 1.390 percent.

colin@yna.co.kr
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