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Seoul stocks slump amid spiking COVID-19 cases

All News 15:55 December 14, 2020

SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks finished lower Monday as investors remained wary of the country's spiking new coronavirus outbreaks. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 7.86 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 2,762.2 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 16.8 trillion won (US$15.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 577 to 276.

Foreigners sold a net 360 billion won, while retail investors purchased 1 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 701 billion won.

Stocks widened losses after a choppy start, as the country's new COVID-19 cases broke the 1,000 mark for the first time Sunday and topped 700 on Monday.

President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that the government is mulling raising the social distancing scheme to the highest, Level 3, if the current pace is maintained.

"The possibility of raising the social distancing alert to Level 3 may have reduced foreign investors' appetite for risky assets," HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun said.

Most large caps closed mixed in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.54 percent to 73,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 1.3 percent to 117,000 won.

Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics lost 0.98 percent to 812,000 won, and Celltrion shed 0.97 percent to 357,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver moved down 1.38 percent to 286,000 won, with its rival Kakao slipping 0.27 percent to 373,500 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country's largest carmaker, declined 0.53 percent to 258,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem dipped 1.86 percent to 793,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI lost 1.26 percent to 549,000 won.

Leading steelmaker POSCO dropped 1.07 percent to 276,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,091.8 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.5 won from the previous session's close.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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