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Seoul stocks sink almost 1% on virus woes, China risk

Stock market in South Korea (Yonhap)
Stock market in South Korea (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks retreated nearly 1 percent Monday as investors remain cautious about the local resurgence of the new coronavirus and uncertainties from China's clampdown on tech firms. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) fell 29.47 points, or 0.91 percent, to close at 3,224.95 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 813 million shares worth some 12 trillion won ($10.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 662 to 212.

Foreigners sold a net 375 billion won, while retail investors bought 723 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 337 billion won.

Stocks retreated after a two-day gain, as the spiking virus cases sapped demand for risky assets.

Losses deepened in the afternoon, tracking a tech plunge in Hong Kong following China's decision to reform its education tech industry and property market.

"Investors seem to be risk-averse ahead of the release of the US gross domestic product (GDP) and the Fed meeting, with China's tech reform issue delivering negative impact on the local stocks prices," Shinhan Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.

Most large caps closed lower in Seoul.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics lost 0.63 percent to 78,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 1.27 percent to 117,000 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics edged up 0.11 percent to 894,000 won, while leading carmaker Hyundai Motor moved down 0.44 percent to 224,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver closed unchanged at 452,000 won, and giant chemical maker LG Chem declined 1.33 percent to 817,000 won. Secondary battery maker Samsung SDI shed 1.86 percent to 737,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,155 won to the US dollar, down 4.2 won from the previous session's close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 2.4 basis points to 1.369 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 3 basis points to 1.609 percent. (Yonhap)