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Seoul stocks down for 2nd day on virus concerns

Electronic signboards show the benchmark Kospi closed at 3,270,36 on Friday, down 5.77points or 0.18percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
Electronic signboards show the benchmark Kospi closed at 3,270,36 on Friday, down 5.77points or 0.18percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks retreated Friday for a second straight session as investor sentiment weakened over concerns about the spreading new coronavirus. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) fell 5.77 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 3,270.36 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 931 million shares worth some 15.2 trillion won ($13.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 464 to 355.

Foreigners bought a net 55.6 billion won, while institutions sold 233 billion won. Retail investors purchased a net 192 billion won.

The Kospi got off to a solid start, tracking overnight rallies on Wall Street that stemmed from optimism over jobless data.

The Kospi swung to losses in the late morning, however, on growing concerns about the surging virus outbreaks.

South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases remained in the 1,700s for the third straight day Friday, triggering an extension of the toughest level of virus restrictions for two additional weeks.

Investors largely took to the sidelines towards the session's close ahead of the US weekly jobless data release.

"The Kospi opened higher, but eventually erased its gains on increasing institutional sell-offs," Shinhan Investment research team said.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.73 percent to 81,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 1.67 percent to 118,000 won.

Internet portal operator Naver moved up 0.45 percent to 444,500 won, and giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics advanced 0.77 percent to 919,000 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor edged down 0.22 percent to 222,500 won and leading chemical firm LG Chem shed 1.75 percent to 842,000 won.

Kakao Bank, the internet-only banking unit of the country's dominant mobile messenger app Kakao Talk, surged by a daily permissible limit of 29.98 percent on its stock market debut.

The local currency closed at 1,142.1 won against the US dollar, up 1.6 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
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