South Korean stocks closed marginally lower Tuesday amid concerns over a global resurgence in new coronavirus outbreaks, despite a massive stimulus package and rising demand in China. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 2.45 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 2,183.61. Trading volume was high at about 800 million shares worth some 11.4 trillion won ($9.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 477 to 356.
Foreigners sold a net 41 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 419 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 381 billion won.
Investor sentiment weakened as rising virus concerns offset the country's mega stimulus project and China's improved trade data.
"An increase in COVID-19 infections and China's import-export data raised the level of uncertainties," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.
The global COVID-19 tally topped 13 million Monday (US time), denting economic recovery hopes.
South Korea added 33 new cases Tuesday, marking a sharp fall from 62 new virus cases reported Monday and 44 cases Sunday. But health officials warned of a continued rise in cluster infections and imported cases that have put a strain on the country's quarantine efforts.
South Korea unveiled a stimulus project worth 160 trillion won to create 1.9 million jobs by 2025. Signs of improving demand in China also helped offset growing worries over COVID-19 outbreaks.
Chinese imports increased 3 percent from a year ago, rebounding from May's 3.3 percent contraction.
Most large caps traded lower in Seoul.
Market behemoth Samsung Electronics rose 0.75 percent to 53,800 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix slid 0.12 percent to 82,900 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor stayed flat at 101,500 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem dipped 2.38 percent to 534,000 won.
Internet giant Naver lost 3.07 percent to 287,000 won, and its rival Kakao fell 2.56 percent to 343,000 won.
Leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.68 percent to 735,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,205.7 won against the US dollar, down 4.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.6 basis point to 0.854 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 0.3 basis point to 1.149 percent. (Yonhap)