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(LEAD) S. Korean stocks dip 1 pct on falling oil prices

All News 16:43 April 21, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS photo and bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks dropped 1 percent Tuesday, as foreign and institutional investors offloaded major large-cap shares after oil prices dipped, analysts said. The Korean won lost ground against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dipped 18.98 to close at 1,879.38. Trading volume was heavy at 1.1 billion shares worth 13.7 trillion won (US$11.2 billion), with losers far outpacing gainers 742 to 127.

The index opened lower, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street and plummeting oil prices. The KOSPI further extended losses to nearly 3 percent during a session after CNN reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in grave danger after a surgery, citing an unidentified U.S. official with direct knowledge.

Currency dealers wearing masks view an electronic board in the trading room of KB Kookmin Bank in Seoul on April 21, 2020. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 18.98 points, or 1 percent, to close at 1,879.38. (Yonhap)

The KOSPI soon trimmed losses after the Seoul government said it has seen no unusual signs with regard to Kim's health.

"Appetite to avoid risky assets appeared after oil prices plunged, which led to drops in major Asian stock markets," said Lee Won, a researcher at Bookook Securities Co.

Foreigners and institutions offloaded a net 528 billion won and 198 billion won, respectively, while individuals alone scooped up a net 708 billion won.

Most large-cap shares closed mixed.

Tech shares ended in negative terrain, with top market cap Samsung Electronics losing 1.7 percent to 49,250 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shedding 0.85 percent to 81,300 won.

Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 4.2 percent to 93,500 won, and its sister company Kia Motors was down 1.7 percent to 28,850 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 1.67 percent to 176,500 won.

In contrast, major bio firm Samsung BioLogics gained 2.3 percent to 579,000 won and leading wireless services provider SK Telecom climbed 2.95 percent to 209,500 won

The local currency closed at 1,229.7 won against the U.S. dollar, down 9.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, ended lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 2.2 basis points to 1.035 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond was up 1.3 basis points to 1.230 percent.

khj@yna.co.kr
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