(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)
SEOUL, March 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended their losing streak to a sixth consecutive session on Wednesday, hitting their lowest point in a decade, as a panicky selling spree eclipsed stimulus packages released around the globe. The Korean won again fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) crashed 81.24 points, or 4.86 percent, to close at 1,591.20, sinking below the significant 1,600-point level and marking the lowest point since May 26, 2010.
Trading volume was high at 714 million shares worth 9.36 trillion won (US$7.51 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 790 to 92.
After climbing more than 1 percent at the opening bell tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, the market swiftly swung to the red under growing foreign sell-offs.
Washington announced Tuesday (local time) it is considering a stimulus package of a whopping US$1 trillion to cope with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, including providing cash payments to its citizens.
The rescue measure follows the Federal Reserve's sharp rate cut and a quantitative easing program worth $700 billion announced earlier this week.
"The new coronavirus pandemic needs to be put under control in order for the market to regain stability," said Lee Kyung-min, a researcher at Daishin Securities Co.
Foreigners were net sellers for a 10th consecutive session, dumping 585 billion won on Wednesday, while individuals were net buyers by purchasing 910 billion won on the day. Institutions offloaded 431 billion won.
Most stocks plunged.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics shed 3.59 percent to reach 45,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix plummeted 9.08 percent to 73,100 won. Battery maker Samsung SDI nosedived 9.96 percent to 221,500 won.
Top carmaker Hyundai Motor sank 8.24 percent to 73,500 won, and its auto parts arm Hyundai Mobis decreased 7.54 percent to 141,000 won. Kia Motors shed 0.2 percent to reach 25,300 won.
Shipbuilders also finished in negative terrain, with Samsung Heavy Industries falling 7.3 percent to 3,810 won and Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering plunging 8.52 percent to 71,900 won.
Leading online portal operator Naver shed 3.31 percent to hit 146,000 won, and its smaller rival Kakao lost 4.41 percent to close at 141,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,245.70 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.20 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 2 basis points to 1.050 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 6 basis points to 1.256 percent.
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