SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended losses late Friday morning as foreign and institutional investors offloaded large-cap stocks amid worries about the spread of the new coronavirus here.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index had dipped 53.13 points, or 2.55 percent, to 2,032.13 as of 11:15 a.m.
Foreign and institutional investors sold a combined 473.5 billion won (US$397.4 million) worth of stocks, weighing down the bourse.
Huh Jae-hwan, a strategist at Eugene Investment Co., said foreign investors were offloading local stocks following overnight losses on Wall Street.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 3.58 percent, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index declining 3.10 percent as the death toll from the COVID-19 climbed to 12 in the United States with about 100 confirmed cases.
In South Korea, the coronavirus has killed 42 people, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses, and infected more than 6,200 others.
Most large-cap stocks were down.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 2.60 percent, SK hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 2.74 percent, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. shed 3.07 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,191.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 10.20 won from the previous session's close.
Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki made a verbal intervention, saying South Korea will take preemptive steps to avoid excessive volatility in the foreign exchange market.
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