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Seoul stocks down late Wed. morning over U.S. stimulus deadlock, vaccine woes

All News 11:31 October 14, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares extended losses late Wednesday morning, as investor sentiment weakened over a deadlock in U.S. fiscal stimulus plans and slow progress in new coronavirus vaccine development.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 17.86 points, or 0.743 percent, to 2,385.29 as of 11:20 a.m.

The KOSPI fell below the 2,400 level, taking a cue from Wall Street losses that stemmed from worries that the new U.S. stimulus plan is losing steam ahead of the November presidential election.

Investor disappointment also grew, after COVID-19 vaccine developers, including Eli Lilly & Co. and J&J, halted their clinical tests due to safety concerns.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.55 percent to close at 28,679.81 on Tuesday (New York time). The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1 percent, and the S&P 500 lost 0.63 percent.

Earlier in the morning, the Bank of Korea (BOK) froze its key interest rate at a record low of 0.5 percent as widely expected. An export slump and COVID-19 flare-ups have somewhat eased, but consumption has slowed due to the protracted pandemic, the BOK noted.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slid 0.16 percent, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shedding 1.02 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics fell 1.52 percent, and Celltrion dipped 2.77 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver gained 1.69 percent, while its rival Kakao traded flat.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem declined 2.33 percent, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 1.91 percent.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, climbed 0.28 percent, but top steelmaker POSCO lost 1.46 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,146.95 won against the U.S. dollar, up 0.15 won from the previous session's close.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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