South Korean shares closed lower Friday, as investors turned risk-averse amid rising new coronavirus infections around the world. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 17.65 points, or 0.81 percent, to close at 2,150.25. Trading volume was high at about 876 million shares worth some 11.9 trillion won ($9.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 675 to 190.
The index's fall came after daily COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 60,000 for the first time Thursday (US time), with record deaths in the populated states of Florida and Texas.
Growing virus fears hit the stock market with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 1.39 percent.
"The rise in the US infections also triggered the sell-off in the local trading," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young, noting that the jump in US cases has become steeper.
Foreigners sold a net 343 billion won at the KOSPI market, while retail investors purchased a net 1 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 709 billion won, extending the selling streak to a fourth session.
South Korea added 45 new COVID-19 infections Friday.
The figure marked a steady decline since Sunday when South Korea confirmed more than 60 cases for the third consecutive day, but health officials warned of cluster and imported infections on the rise.
Earlier in the day, the government limited regular flights from countries of high infection rates to 60 percent of their capacity.
Most large caps in Seoul traded lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slid 0.19 percent to 52,700 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slipping 0.24 percent to 82,800 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics shed 1.35 percent to 731,000 won, and leading chemical maker LG Chem retreated 1.86 percent to 529,000 won.
The country's largest automaker, Hyundai Motor, fell 1.31 percent to 98,300 won. Leading steelmaker POSCO dropped 3.45 percent to 182,000 won.
Internet giant Naver surged 4 percent to 299,000 won, while its rival Kakao remained unchanged at 355,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,204.5 won against the US dollar, down 9 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.9 basis point to 0.849 percent. The return on the benchmark five-year government bond also climbed 0.9 basis point to 1.125 percent. (Yonhap)