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Seoul shares to trend lower next week on new coronavirus angst

All News 10:00 February 01, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks are expected to suffer a further decline next week amid growing concerns over the rapid spread of the new coronavirus around the globe, analysts said Saturday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,119.01 points on Friday, down 5.56 percent from the last trading session of the previous week.

After closing down on Monday for the Lunar New Year holiday, the South Korean market sank by more than 3 percent on escalating fears over the new coronavirus.

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 market bounced back a session later as investors searched for bargains.

On Thursday, however, foreigners and institutions again dumped local shares as their appetite for risky assets weakened on the increasing number of patients infected with the virus in China.

The selling spree extended to Friday, with the main index dipping by 1.35 percent after South Korea reported four more cases of the new coronavirus, bringing the total number of infected people to 11.

So far, the virus has killed more than 200 people and infected nearly 10,000 people across the world.

Foreigners dumped a net 1.1 trillion won (US$922 million) worth of local stocks this week. Institutions also sold a net 958 billion won while retail investors bought a net 1.9 billion won.

Next week, analysts said investors are expected to sit on the sidelines gauging potential fallout from the novel virus, although concerns have been priced in to some extent.

"Considering the countermeasures made by the Chinese government, it is likely that the disease will be curbed instead of spreading further," Kim Byung-yeon, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co., said.

This week, technology firms and carmakers sharply lost ground. Paper producers, on the other hand, gained ground on the back of soaring demand for protective masks.

colin@yna.co.kr
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