The Korea Herald


Seoul stocks plunge over 1% on record-high foreign dumping

By Yonhap

Published : Aug. 31, 2020 - 16:32

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)
South Korean shares dipped more than 1 percent Monday, as foreign sell-offs soared to an all-time high amid the spreading new coronavirus fears. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 27.63 points, or 1.17 percent, to close at 2,326.17. Trading volume was high at about 1.6 billion shares worth some 19 trillion won ($16 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 498 to 350.

The index set out strong on the Fed's dovish signal but turned to losses on disappointing new COVID-19 case numbers.

Foreigners dumped a net 1.63 trillion won, the largest-ever foreign sell-off in a day on the main bourse. Retail investors purchased a net 1.57 trillion won, while institutions offloaded a net 5.8 billion won.

"Major foreign sell-offs in chip and other tech shares drove the KOSPI down," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.

"Investor sentiment seems to have weakened from the spreading social distancing move," he added.

South Korea added 248 new COVID-19 cases, marking a drop from 299 cases identified the previous day. But health authorities said the drop may have resulted from fewer virus tests over the weekend.

Starting Sunday, South Korea raised the social distancing level by half a notch to 2.5. Under the eight-day emergency measures, only takeaway and deliveries are permitted after 9 p.m. at restaurants and bakeries in the greater Seoul area.

Most large caps finished lower.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 2.53 percent to 54,000 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipping 3.47 percent to 75,100 won.

Leading pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics retreated 2.63 percent to 778,000 won, and Celltrion fell 2.46 percent to 297,000 won.

Leading chemicals firm LG Chem dipped 2.5 percent to 740,000 won, and internet portal giant Naver sank 3.15 percent to 322,500 won.

Among gainers, Top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 2.62 percent to 176,500 won, with Kakao, the operator of messenger app Kakao Talk, adding 0.37 percent to 407,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,187.8 won per dollar, down 3.5 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 4.7 basis points to 0.940 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 3.5 basis points to 1.210 percent. (Yonhap)