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Seoul stocks extend gains Monday morning on Fed comments

All News 11:32 March 02, 2020

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks extended gains late Monday morning as investors positively responded to the hint of a possible rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve to reassure markets hit by the spreading coronavirus outbreaks.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 5.17 points, or 0.26 percent, to 1,992.18 as of 11:20 a.m. The main index plunged 12 percent in the past week amid worsening virus woes.

South Korea has reported a total of 4,212 confirmed coronavirus cases, with the death toll reaching 22 as of Monday. The country's first case came on Jan. 20.

Investors appear to be taking a positive cue after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell signaled on Friday (U.S. time) that the central bank was open to a rate cut if necessary, as concerns over the new coronavirus called COVID-19 continue to escalate, analysts said.

Foreigners sold some 420 billion won (US$349 million) following their net selling of some 3.5 trillion won (US$2.92 billion) last week. But the foreign selling was nearly offset by individuals and institutions scooping up a combined 410 billion won.

Large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics rose 1.5 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 3.9 percent, top carmaker Hyundai Motor fell 0.9 percent and national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. shed 1.6 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,203.15 won against the U.S. dollar, up 10.55 won from the previous session's close.

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