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Stocks decline 1.7% as Wuhan virus fear returns

Jan 31,2020
Stocks declined Thursday, dropping 1.7 percent as foreigners and institutions dumped local shares amid growing concerns over the fast-spreading coronavirus. The won fell sharply against the dollar.

The Kospi fell 37.28 points, or 1.71 percent, to close at 2,148.00. Trade volume was moderate at 594 million shares worth 7 trillion won ($5.9 billion), with losers far outnumbering gainers 752 to 112.

Despite a slight rebound in the previous sessions, investor appetite for risky assets weakened amid growing economic uncertainties stemming from the fast-spreading virus, believed to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The virus has killed 170 people so far and infected over 7,700 people globally.

“The new coronavirus is still weighing on investor sentiment,” said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities.

The coronavirus epidemic hit markets in neighboring Asian countries. It dragged the Nikkei index down by 1.72 percent and Shanghai Composite index down by 2.75 percent.

Foreign investors offloaded a net 279.2 billion won worth of shares, and retail investors bought a net 663 billion won.

Institutions dumped a net 441 billion won.

Most large cap shares ended in a negative territory.

Samsung Electronics fell 3.21 percent to 57,200 won after the company said its fourth-quarter net profit dropped 38.2 percent on-year.

SK Hynix plunged 3.98 percent to 94,000 won, and LG Electronics finished unchanged at 67,200 won.

Hyundai Motor slipped 2.67 percent to 127,500 won, and Hyundai Mobis moved down 1.04 percent to 237,000 won. Kia Motors fell 1.41 percent to 41,950 won.

Cosmetics manufacturer Amorepacific surrendered 4.2 percent to 194,000 won, and LG Household & Health Care decreased 2.62 percent to 1,262,000 won.

Samsung Biologics inched up 0.81 percent reaching 495,000 won, and Shinan Holdings gained 0.25 percent closing at 39,900 won.

The local currency closed at 1,185.00 to the dollar, up 7.8 won from the previous session’s close.

The secondary Kosdaq was up 13.79 points, or 2.06 percent, to close at 656.39.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds shed 3.3 basis points to 1.300 percent, while the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 7.4 basis points to reach 1.58 percent.

BY KANG JAE-EUN, YONHAP [kangjaeeun@joongang.co.kr]