South Korean stocks took another drubbing from a plunge in Japan and other major equity markets Friday as panicked investors dumped shares. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 26.26 points, or 1.41 percent, to end at 1,835.28. This followed a nearly 3 percent plunge the previous day.
Trading volume was moderate at 465.67 million shares worth 6.2 trillion won ($5.1 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 739 to 113.
The tech-laden secondary KOSDAQ also tumbled 6 percent. At one point, a circuit breaker was activated for the first time in 4 1/2 years to suspend its trading and ease a further dive after the index fell by more than 8 percent.
"Overnight losses in the U.S. hurt the market mood from the start, and it fell further as jitters spread in global financial markets, including a plunge in Japan," said Ko Seung-hee, an analyst at Daewoo Securities.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 1.6 percent as concerns over slowing growth weighed on the market. Volatility deepened later as other Asian markets tumbled. Japan's Nikkei 225 fell nearly 5 percent.
Foreigners and retailer investors unloaded about 300 billion won and 190 billion won worth of shares, respectively. Institutions remained net buyers.
Major sectors ended in negative terrain as growing risk aversion prompted investors to trim holdings. Pharmaceutical, brokerage and cosmetics companies led the slide.
Hanmi Pharmaceutical plummeted 9.73 percent to 631,000 won, and Yuhan Corp. fell 10.73 percent to 283,000 won. Samsung Securities dropped 3.5 percent to 34,500 won. Leading cosmetics maker AmorePacific fell 5.72 percent, and its smaller rival LG Life & Healthcare went down 6.27 percent.
Auto issues, however, were among a few marked gainers as optimism grew that the yen's ascent could boost their business in global markets down the road. No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor jumped 4.58 percent.
The local currency closed at 1,211.7 won against the greenback, down 9.2 won from the previous day.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 2.5 basis points to 1.475 percent while the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds rose 3.7 basis points to 1.576 percent. (Yonhap)