SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended losses late Tuesday morning as foreign and institutional investors offloaded large-cap stocks amid a news report on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un being in grave danger after a surgery.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) had fallen 31.70 points, or 1.67 percent, to 1,866.66 as of 11:20 a.m.
Foreign and institutional investors sold a combined 376.8 billion won (US$304 million) worth of stocks, weighing down the bourse.
Huh Jae-hwan, a strategist at Eugene Investment Co., said news about Kim's ill health weighed on the main index.
CNN reported that Kim is in grave danger after a surgery, citing an unidentified U.S. official with direct knowledge.
In Seoul, most large-cap stocks traded mixed across the board.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 1.80 percent, South Korea's second-largest chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was down 0.85 percent and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. shed 4 percent.
Among gainers, South Korea's state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. rose 0.70 percent, and South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion was up 0.24 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,238.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 18.00 won from the previous session's close.
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