(ATTN: ADDS photo and bond yields at bottom)
SEOUL, Feb. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares ended nearly flat on Monday after trimming earlier losses as China moves to stabilize markets by injecting liquidity amid the worsening coronavirus outbreak. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) inched up 0.13 point, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,118.88. The index dipped to as low as 2,082.74 points at one point.
The main index plunged 5.7 percent last week. Trading volume was moderate at 827.34 million shares worth 7.92 trillion won (US$7.34 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 573 to 295.
The Shanghai Composite Index tumbled nearly 9 percent Monday as it resumed trading following a Lunar New Year break that began on Jan. 24 and ended on Feb. 2 and rebounded slightly helped by Beijing's announcement to inject 1.2 trillion yuan ($173 billion) into the markets.
"The KOSPI index rebounded following its sharp decline last week as investors judged that the Shanghai benchmark's sharp decline belatedly reflected the global stock market's tumble during the holiday," NH Investment & Securities Co. analyst Noh Dong-kil said.
Investors are keeping a close eye on developments involving the deadly respiratory illness which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has spread to more than 20 countries.
In China, it has killed more than 360 and infected more than 16,400 people.
South Korea had reported 15 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday.
Institutions and individuals bought a combined 288 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting foreign selling valued at 308.13 billion won.
Tech stocks advanced, keeping the KOSPI from falling further.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. rose 1.4 percent to 57,200 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. climbed 1.3 percent to 94,700 won.
Among decliners, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. fell 1.2 percent to 123,500 won ahead of output reduction at its plants due to shortages of auto parts from parts suppliers in China. Its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. declined 2 percent to 40,100 won. State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. shed 1.2 percent to 25,050 won.
The local currency closed at 1,195.00 won to the dollar, down 3.20 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 1.2 basis points to 1.291 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond declined 1.4 basis points to reach 1.373 percent.
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