+ A

Stocks decline for another day on virus worry

Feb 11,2020
Stocks closed lower Monday, falling for the second straight session, amid concerns that the new coronavirus outbreak may delay the country’s economic recovery. The local currency lost ground slightly against the dollar.

The Kospi lost 10.88 points, or 0.49 percent, to close at 2,201.07. Trading volume was moderate at 600 million shares worth 5.33 trillion won ($4.49 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 423 to 395.

The index plunged more than 1 percent in the morning session, losing 30.25 points, or 1.37 percent, in the first 15 minutes of trading.

The coronavirus outbreak has yet to have any direct impact on the local economy, but analysts here believe it will inevitably weigh down on its recovery by undermining local consumption and limiting exports.

“The concerns over the coronavirus mainly stem from the fact that the number of fatalities has exceeded that from the severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS] outbreak in 2003 and that the economic fallout from the outbreak may expand,” Meritz Securities economist Lee Seung-hoon said.

“The rise in the number of infected people in China began to slow down over the weekend, but people fear the number may begin to rise again when companies resume their operations,” Lee added.

Korea has reported 27 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, with no new cases reported since Sunday.

Many, however, believe the mass outbreak in China, with more than 40,000 confirmed cases, will likely lead to a continued decline in Korea’s exports, as China alone accounts for nearly 20 percent of the country’s outbound shipments.

In Seoul, foreign investors offloaded a net 304 billion won, while individuals scooped up a net 435.4 billion won. Institutions dumped a net 165 billion won.

Large caps were mixed by the close of trading.

Samsung Electronics fell 1.16 percent to 59,700 won, and chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.50 percent to reach 98,800 won.

Samsung BioLogics jumped 2.12 percent to 530,000 won, but automaker Hyundai Motor slipped 0.76 percent to 130,000 won.

The won closed at 1,187.05 won against the greenback, up 0.55 won from the previous session’s close.

The Kosdaq was up 3.44 points, or 0.51 percent, to close at 676.07.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds added 1.6 basis points to 1.296 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 5.9 basis points to reach 1.58 percent.

BY KIM YEON-AH, YONHAP [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]