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Seoul shares widen losses late Thur. morning on virus woes, U.S. stimulus deadlock

All News 11:44 October 15, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks extended losses late Thursday morning as spreading new coronavirus infections and the deadlocked U.S. fiscal stimulus weighed heavily on the local financial markets.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 16.79 points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,363.69 as of 11:20 a.m.

The KOSPI extended losses in the late morning, following a 0.94 percent fall the previous session over the COVID-19 flare-up.

Investor sentiment worsened as South Korea's new coronavirus cases rebounded to over 100 due mainly to a new cluster infection in the southeastern port city of Busan.

The country added 110 COVID-19 cases, including 95 local infections, raising the total caseload to 24,988, with the death toll reaching 439, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The losses came after a weak start, tracking overnight Wall Street retreats that stemmed from doubts that a U.S. stimulus package will not be able to break the deadlock anytime soon.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.58 percent to 28,514 on Wednesday (New York time), with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and S&P 500 down 0.8 percent and 0.66 percent, respectively.

Most large caps traded mixed in Seoul.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics declined 1.48 percent, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix traded flat.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.99 percent, but Celltrion shed 1.72 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver dipped 2.18 percent, with its rival Kakao down 1.9 percent.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem advanced 1.91 percent, while top automaker Hyundai Motor slipped 0.28 percent.

Leading steelmaker POSCO jumped 2.99 percent.

Big Hit Entertainment, the management agency of K-pop phenoms BTS, rose 8.15 percent on the first day of trading after it jumped by the daily limit of 30 percent as soon as the market opened.

The local currency was trading at 1,144.85 won to the U.S. dollar as of 9:15 a.m., up 2.05 won from the previous session's close.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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