Employees from Hana Bank work at a trading room, monitoring stock market data on Tuesday in Seoul. (Yonhap)
South Korean shares tanked Tuesday, following resurging coronavirus cases in Seoul and surrounding areas.
The benchmark Kospi closed down 59.25 points, or 2.46 percent, to 2,348.24 points while the tech-heavy Kosdaq declined 34.81 points, or 4.17 percent, to close at 800.22 points.
The Kospi, which remained above the 2400-level in recent days, dropped below the threshold as fears of a resurgence of COVID-19 spooked investors.
Korea added 246 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, after reporting 197 on Monday and 279 on Sunday. The daily new cases exceeded the 200-mark over the weekend for the first time since early March.
Most large-caps, including those in the retail and manufacturing segments, traded lower, but pharmaceutical and internet shares went up due to the virus concerns.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics added 0.69 percent, while chipmaker SK hynix shed 2.62 percent.
Samsung Biologics saw its stock rise to a high of 837,000 won, but ended up just 0.25 percent at 802,000 won. Pharmaceutical firm Celltrion advanced 1.48 percent in intraday trading, but fell 0.16 percent to 30,400 won.
Web portal giant Naver and mobile messenger behemoth Kakao saw their stock price rise 0.82 percent and 4.28 percent, to close at 307,500 won and 378,000 won, respectively
Leading battery maker LG Chem gained in the morning thanks to the rising expectations on electric vehicles, but its stock ended 1.43 percent lower while its competitor Samsung SDI shed 2.48 percent.
Shinsegae, Amorepacific and Hotel Shilla took the brunt of Wednesday’s downturn with their stocks dropping 8.7 percent, 10.18 percent and 9.25 percent, respectively.
The local currency closed at 1,184.50 won against the US dollar, down 3 won from the previous session’s close.
By Kim Young-won (email@example.com