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Seoul stock market crashes 6% as virus panic deepens

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

South Korea's stock market trading was halted Friday minutes after the opening bell due to sharp falls as panic sell-offs sparked by an overnight plunge on Wall Street amid growing concerns over the new coronavirus' economic fallout around the globe.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index surrendered 107.82 points, or 5.87 percent, to 1,726.51 as of 9:30 a.m.

The local stock market trading was halted after the sharp plunge. The benchmark index dipped by more than 8 percent to as low as 1,684.56 points at one point.

The plunge came as investors assess that the US ban on travel from Europe and the planned coronavirus stimulus package won't be enough to counter the virus' impact on the economy.

The main index already plunged 6.6 percent in the past two sessions as investors dumped risky assets amid concerns that the rapidly spreading COVID-19 disease may end up in a much-dreaded recession.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost around 10 percent to 21,200.62 points in its worst daily plunge since 1987.

The tech-heavy NASDAQ plummeted 9.4 percent to 7,201.80.

Analysts said lack of clarity from the planned US measures to cushion the economic pain of the novel coronavirus and its rapid spread across the globe look set to further add unease to the financial markets. 

In an address to the nation Wednesday (local time), US.

President Donald Trump made a shock announcement to ban travel from Europe, except for Britain, for 30 days, while not providing a detailed US economic rescue package.

Further weighing on investor sentiment is the World Health Organization's declaration of the coronavirus as a pandemic.

Most large-cap stocks plunged across the board.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. plunged 5.1 percent, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 5.9 percent, leading wireless services provider SK Telecom Co. shed 6.9 percent, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. was down 7.7 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,221.05 won against the US dollar, down 14.55 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

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