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Seoul stocks snap 4-day winning streak amid growing virus angst

All News 15:58 March 06, 2020

SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- Seoul stocks snapped a four-day rally to end sharply lower Friday as foreign and institutional investors offloaded large-cap stocks amid worries about the spread of the new coronavirus. The Korean won fell sharply against the U.S. dollar, despite South Korea's verbal intervention.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) sank 45.04 points, or 2.16 percent, to 2,040.22, wiping out some of this week's gains.

Foreign and institutional investors sold a combined 824.1 billion won (US$693 million) worth of stocks, weighing down the bourse.

Huh Jae-hwan, a strategist at Eugene Investment Co., said foreign investors sold local stocks following overnight losses on Wall Street sparked by increasing concerns over spread of COVID in the United States. The death toll from the virus climbed to 12 in the U.S., with about 100 confirmed cases.

The coronavirus has killed 42 people here, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses, and infected more than 6,200.

Most large-cap stocks closed down.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 2.25 percent to 56,500 won, SK hynix, a major chipmaker, was down 2.42 percent at 92,600 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. shed 3.07 percent, falling to 110,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,192.30 won against the U.S. dollar, down 11.10 won from the previous session's close.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said earlier in the day that South Korea will take preemptive steps to avoid excessive volatility in the foreign exchange market, though the verbal intervention did not stop the won's slide.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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