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(LEAD) Seoul stocks snap four-day winning streak amid COVID-19 uncertainties

All News 16:37 July 31, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, July 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares closed lower Friday, snapping a four-day winning streak, as economic uncertainties loom large amid the new coronavirus pandemic. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 17.64 points, or 0.78 percent, to close at 2,249.37. Trading volume was high at about 679 million shares worth some 12.7 trillion won (US$10.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 572 to 276.

Foreigners sold a net 86 billion won, ending a five-session buying streak. Institutions offloaded a net 394 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 473 billion won.

Electronic signboard at the trading room of Hana Bank in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,249.37 on July 31, 2020, down 17.64 points or 0.78 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

Investors attempted to lock in gains after the U.S. economy contracted by the most in 73 years in the second quarter.

"The steep fall in the U.S. quarterly growth, consumption and facility investment generates negative pressure on export-driven markets like South Korea," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co.

In contrast, South Korea's industrial output, retail sales and facility investment showed on-month growth in June. It is the first time in six months that all three indices increased.

Most large caps closed in negative terrain.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dropped 1.86 percent to 57,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 2.93 percent to 82,800 won.

Top pharmaceutical company Samsung Biologics shed 0.41 percent to 733,000 won, with Celltrion down 1.17 percent to 296,500 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, dropped 0.78 percent to 126,500 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors retreating 0.74 percent to 40,400 won.

Auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis dipped 2.11 percent to 205,500 won.

Leading game publisher NCSOFT fell 1.7 percent to 811,000 won, and giant steelmaker POSCO lost 2.76 percent to 193,500 won.

Among gainers, chemical heavyweight LG Chem spiked 7.17 percent to 568,000 won, thanks to robust second-quarter earnings from improved EV battery output.

Internet giant Naver advanced 2.38 percent to 301,000 won, with its rival Kakao jumping 3.46 percent to 343,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,191.30 won per dollar, up 3.1 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.3 basis point to 0.796 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond slipped 0.6 basis point to 1.031 percent.


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