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Stocks fall nearly 1% on new Wuhan worries

Jan 24,2020
Stocks ended lower Thursday after a rebound of more than 1 percent the previous day, as foreign and institutional investors were cautious amid rising concerns over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The Kospi fell 21.12 points, or 0.93 percent, to 2,246.13.

Foreign and institutional investors sold a combined 612.4 billion won ($524 million) worth of stocks, weighing down the bourse.

Daishin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min said investors also went for profit-taking ahead of the holiday after the index jumped to its highest level in 15 months on Wednesday.

The Lunar New Year’s holiday is one of the two major traditional Korean holidays and falls on Saturday. A four-day break runs Friday through Monday.

Investors fretted over the potential fallout from the outbreak of a new coronavirus that has been spreading in China and other countries.

China said Thursday that the virus had killed 17 so far, with over 570 citizens confirmed to be infected, amid concerns that the pneumonia-like illness is spreading quickly and widely.

Beijing pledged on Wednesday to pool all of its resources to contain the further spread of the disease, especially since many people have time off till the end of the month so they can visit family and friends.

Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States have also reported confirmed cases of the disease.

In Seoul, large-cap stocks were mixed.

Samsung Electronics was down 2.41 percent at 60,800 won, and Korea’s chipmaker, SK Hynix, fell 2.28 percent to 98,700 won. Steelmaker Posco fell 0.41 percent to 240,500 won.

Amorepacific, shed 4.92 percent to 212,500 won, and LG Household & Health Care, a beauty company, fell 1.39 percent to 1,349,000 won.

Celltrion fell 0.57 percent to 175,500 won, and chemical company LG Chem shed 0.85 percent to 348,500 won.

Among gainers, Samsung BioLogics surged 6.86 percent to 483,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,168.70 won against the dollar, up 4.10 won from the previous session’s close.

The secondary Kosdaq was down 2.68 points, or 0.39 percent, to close at 685.57.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds shed 1.8 basis points to stand at 1.422 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond rose 0.2 basis points to reach 1.77 percent.

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