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Seoul stocks trim losses Monday morning amid virus woes

All News 11:34 February 03, 2020

SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks trimmed earlier losses late Monday morning as institutional buying offset net selling by foreigners and individuals amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had fallen 6.99 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,112.02 as of 11:20 a.m.

The main index plunged 5.7 percent last week to close at 2,119.01 points on Friday as the deadly virus outbreak showed no signs of easing weighing on investor sentiment.

"Chinese stocks slumped as markets reopened following an extended Lunar New Year break (that lasted from Jan. 24 through Feb. 2)," said Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities Co. "But investors appear not to be panicked by the decline as it belatedly reflects overall stock losses during the holiday."

The People's Bank of China pledged to inject $21.7 billion of liquidity into the market to avoid volatility in financial markets last week, when global stock markets were rattled by the new coronavirus.

Since the virus broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, it 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 had reported 15 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Sunday.

Institutions bought a 170 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting net selling valued at 167 billion won by foreigners and individuals.

In Seoul, tech stocks rebounded, helping the KOSPI erase earlier losses.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1.1 percent to 57,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 1.2 percent to 94,600 won.

Among losers, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1.2 percent to 123,000 won, leading steelmaker POSCO declined 2.9 percent to 215,000 won and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. was down 1 percent to 25,100 won.

The local currency was trading at 1,197.60 won against the U.S. dollar, down 5.80 won from the previous session's close.

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
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