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(LEAD) Seoul stocks dip more than 1 pct amid deepening coronavirus angst

All News 16:30 January 31, 2020

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

SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks fell sharply lower for the second straight session Friday, erasing earlier gains as concerns over the new coronavirus outbreak deepened. The South Korean won sharply fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 28.99 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 2,119.01. Trade volume was moderate at 696 million shares worth 7.12 trillion won (US$5.76 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 709 to 164. On Thursday, the index lost 1.71 percent.

The local stock market got off to a strong start as investors scooped up undervalued shares but turned south after South Korea reported additional coronavirus cases.

The country's health authorities reported four more cases, bringing the total to 11. The virus has killed more than 200 people in China so far and infected nearly 10,000 people across the world.

Staffs watch computer monitors at KEB Hana Bank in downtown Seoul on Jan. 31, 2020. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 28.99 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 2,119.01 on the day as concerns over the new coronavirus outbreak deepened. (Yonhap)

The World Health Organization declared the epidemic in China a public health emergency of international concern, a designation that will trigger more concerted global efforts to curb the spread of the virulent virus.

"The increase in the number of patients infected with the new coronavirus can sour investor sentiment, but we should also watch closely corresponding stimulus measures around the globe," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co.

Foreign investors offloaded a net 424 billion won worth of stocks, and retail investors bought a net 278 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 171 billion won.

Top tech giant Samsung Electronics slipped 1.4 percent to 56,400 won, while LG Display moved up 4.41 percent to 15,400 won.

No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix fell 0.53 percent after the company said it swung to a loss in the fourth quarter from a year earlier due to a slump in the memory chip sector.

Carmakers also lost ground, with No. 1 Hyundai Motor falling 1.96 percent to 125,000 won and Kia Motors sliding 2.5 percent to 40,900 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 3.16 percent to 125,000 won.

Pharmaceutical firms closed bearish, with Celltrion plunging 1.2 percent to 165,000 won and Samsung BioLogics decreasing 2.12 percent to 484,500 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical lost 2.43 percent to 281,000 won.

Monalisa, a mask producer, increased a whopping 23.05 percent to 9,130 won, as the demand for hygiene products has been running high here.

The local currency closed at 1,191.80 to the U.S. greenback, down 6.8 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.2 basis point to 1.303 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond lost 0.3 basis point to reach 1.387 percent.


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