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(LEAD) Seoul stocks down over looming uptick in virus cases

Finance 16:25 May 11, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed lower Monday to pare earlier gains due to growing concerns over another cluster infection. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slid 10.42 points, or 0.54 percent, to finish at 1,935.40. Trading volume was moderate at 581 million shares worth 7.6 trillion won (US$6.23 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 529 to 316.

After opening higher, local shares slipped into negative terrain on growing concerns over a new cluster infection of COVID-19 in the capital city.

The number of virus infections linked to nightclubs and bars in the central district of Itaewon totaled 86 nationally as of noon.

The country had been adding fewer than 15 cases of the new coronavirus since mid-April, with the number of domestic infections even falling to zero at some points, before rebounding to 35 cases Monday.

Currency dealers work in front of an electronic signboard at the headquarters of Hana Bank in Seoul on May 11, 2020. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slid 10.42 points, or 0.54 percent, to finish at 1,935.40.(Yonhap)

"The market is expected to experience ups and downs depending on the related reports on the new wave of infections in the country," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co.

The market slump, however, was still limited on the rising hope over the resumption of global business activities around the globe, with major nations deciding to gradually lift all-out lockdowns.

Foreigners dumped a net 170 billion won, while individuals scooped up a net 512 billion won. Institutions sold more shares than they bought at 363 billion won.

In Seoul, blue chips mostly closed bearish.

Top market cap Samsung Electronics moved down 0.82 percent to 48,400 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slid 0.59 percent to 84,500 won. Battery maker Samsung SDI, on the other hand, edged up 0.53 percent to 287,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem decreased 1.7 percent to 346,500 won, and top cosmetics firm AmorePacific shed 3.31 percent to 175,500 won.

Retail giant E-Mart lost 2.62 percent to 111,500 won, while GS Retail moved up 1.06 percent to 38,050 won.

Carmakers finished mixed, with Hyundai Motor losing 0.85 percent to 93,700 won, while its sister Kia Motors gained 0.16 percent to 30,550 won. Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis slid 1.99 percent to 172,500 won.

The South Korean won closed at 1,220.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.6 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 1.2 basis points to 0.926 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond gained 2 basis points to 1.186 percent.

colin@yna.co.kr
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