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Seoul stocks open sharply lower amid coronavirus woes

All News 09:24 February 03, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks opened sharply lower Monday as the rapid spread of the new coronavirus is set to further weigh on investor sentiment.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 32.57 points, or 1.54 percent, to 2,086.44 in the first 15 minutes of trading.

Since the virus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, the new coronavirus has killed more than 360 and infected over 16,400 people in China and reached 24 countries, as far away as the United States.

South Korea reported a total of 15 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday.

Analysts said investors are closely watching China's stock markets as they are set to resume trading in Shanghai at 09:30 a.m. (China time) following the Lunar New Year holiday amid fears over the impact the coronavirus will have on the world's No.-2 economy.

Institutions bought 111 billion won (US$93 million) worth of stocks while foreigners and individuals sold a combined 106 billion won worth of stocks.

In Seoul, most large-cap stocks declined.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 1.4 percent to 55,700 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. declined 2 percent to 122,500 won, leading steelmaker POSCO shed 2.9 percent to 214,500 won and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. was down 0.4 percent to 39,600 won.

The local currency was trading at 1,196.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 4.70 won from the previous session's close.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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