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Kospi dips below 2,000 as sell-off continues

Feb 29,2020
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Masked employees work in the dealing room of Hana Bank on Friday, in Jung District, central Seoul. Korean stocks plummeted amid a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases. The benchmark Kospi shed 67.88 points, or 3.30 percent, to close at the lowest level in 5 months at 1,987.01 points. The won again fell against the dollar. [YONHAP]
Stocks nose-dived more than 3 percent on Friday as foreigners continued their selling binge for a fifth consecutive session amid growing concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus. The won rose against the dollar.

The Kospi decreased 67.88 points, or 3.30 percent, to close at 1,987.01. Trading volume was moderate at 660 million shares worth 9.67 trillion won ($7.95 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 850 to 47.

It marked the first time the index has finished below the 2,000-point mark since September.

Foreigners’ massive sell-offs started on Monday. This week, they dumped a whopping 3.4 trillion won.

They offloaded a net 630 billion won worth of local stocks. Institutions bought a net 359 billion won, and individuals scooped up a net 223 billion won.

Korea’s confirmed cases of the new coronavirus surpassed 2,000 on Friday.

“Investors are currently under panic on rising concerns that Covid-19 may hurt earnings of listed firms,” Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities, said, referring to the World Health Organization’s official name for the coronavirus.

Shares lost ground across the board.

Samsung Electronics plunged 3.04 percent to 54,200 won, and chipmaker SK hynix slid 5.28 percent to 87,900 won. Home appliances maker LG Electronics moved down 3.21 percent to 60,400 won.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics decreased 3.44 percent to 463,500 won, and Celltrion fell 0.29 percent to 170,000 won. Hanmi Pharmaceutical fell 3.33 percent to 261,000 won.

Carmaker Hyundai Motor nose-dived 4.96 percent to 115,000 won, and its auto parts arm Hyundai Mobis lost 4.11 percent to 210,000 won. Kia Motors sank 3.85 percent to 36,250 won.

Mobile carriers also finished bearish. SK Telecom fell 2.07 percent to 212,500 won, and KT lost 1.65 percent to 23,900 won.

Hanjin KAL, the holding company of Hanjin Group, which has Korean Air Lines and low-cost carrier Jin Air under its wing, rose 3.38 percent to 67,200 won amid the owner family’s dispute over management control.

The local currency closed at 1,213.70 won against the dollar, down 3.50 won from the previous session’s close.

The secondary Kosdaq was down 27.44 points, or 4.30 percent, to close at 610.73.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 9.0 basis points to 1.104 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 6.6 basis points to reach 1.26 percent.

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