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Seoul stocks snap 3-day losing streak on Fed chief's comments, foreigners' sell-off continues

All News 16:02 March 02, 2020

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks snapped a three-day losing streak to advance 0.78 percent on Monday, helped by the hint of a possible rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve to soothe virus angst that has jolted the global stock market. The Korean won rose sharply against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 15.50 points, or 0.78 percent, to 2,002.51. 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 26 as of Monday.

Investors appear to be taking a positive cue from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell's comments on Friday that the central bank is open to a rate cut if necessary, as concerns over COVID-19 continue to escalate, analysts said.

Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said that Powell's statement gave a boost to the main index.

Still, foreign investors sold a net 785.4 billion won (US$657.6 million) worth of local stocks. Meanwhile, individuals and institutions scooped up a combined 731.1 billion won.

Large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics rose 1.48 percent to 55,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 4.78 percent to 92,100 won.

Among decliners, top carmaker Hyundai Motor fell 1.30 percent to 113,500 won, and South Korea's No. 1 steelmaker POSCO slipped 2.05 percent to 191.500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,193.70 won against the U.S. dollar, sharply up 20.00 won from the previous session's close.


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