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(LEAD) Seoul stocks plunge over 2 pct on escalating Ukraine crisis

All News 16:38 February 24, 2022

(ATTN: CORRECTS figures in para 2; ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks plunged more than 2 percent Thursday, as investor sentiment worsened over Russia's launch of military operations in eastern Ukraine. The Korean won steeply fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) tumbled 70.73 points, or 2.6 percent, to close at 2,648.80 points.

Trading volume was high at about 904 million shares worth some 13.1 trillion won (US$10.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 797 to 108.

Foreigners dumped a net 681 billion won, and foreigners offloaded 485 billion won, while retail investors bought 1.1 trillion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,648.8 points on Feb. 24, 2022, down 70.73 points or 2.6 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

Stocks opened sharply lower, taking a cue from stock plunges on Wall Street that stemmed from military tensions in Ukraine.

Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite tumbled 2.57 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.38 percent.

Stock losses deepened at home and around the world in the afternoon, briefly touching the intraday bottom of 2,642.63 points, after reports Russian forces attacked targets across Ukraine.

"Overall, growing concerns related to the Ukraine crisis raised volatility in the financial markets. The U.S. bond yields steeply increased, markets grew unstable, and the intensifying tensions in Ukraine have further pulled down the stock prices," said Daeshin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min.

Earlier in the morning, the Bank of Korea froze the benchmark seven-day repo rate at 1.25 percent, citing fallouts from the pandemic and the Ukraine crisis.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 2.05 percent to 71,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 4.67 percent to 122,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver retreated 2.1 percent to 302,500 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 4.16 percent to 173,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem plunged 6.79 percent to 549,000 won, and giant battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 5.77 percent to 416,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,202.4 won against the U.S. dollar, down 8.8 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 9.1 basis points to 2.226 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 9.9 basis points to 2.423 percent.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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