Seoul, South Korean shares ended a four-session winning streak today, on Thursday, as the daily new virus cases in the country spiked to a nearly six-month high, Yonhap reported.
The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 24.87 points, or 1.05 percent, to close at 2,344.45.
Trading volume was high at about 898 million shares worth some 14.9 trillion won (US$12.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 725 to 152.
Foreigners sold a net 24 billion won, ending a four-day buying streak, while retail investors purchased a net 466 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 473 billion won.
Investor sentiment remained subdued due to the latest uptick in virus cases. The country reported 441 new COVID-19 cases, the largest daily tally since March 7 when the country was reeling from massive virus outbreaks tied to the minor religious sect Shincheonji in Daegu and neighboring North Gyeongsang Province.
The Bank of Korea froze the key rate at 0.5 percent, while further cutting this year’s growth outlook amid deepening uncertainties from the virus flare-up.
The central bank expects the country’s economy to retreat 1.3 percent this year, compared with the previous projection of a 0.2 percent retreat in May.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 1.42 percent to 55,600 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix climbed 0.38 percent to 79,100 won.
Tech and game shares jumped. Internet portal giant Naver gained 0.9 percent to 337,000 won, and its rival Kakao surged 4.72 percent to 410,500 won. Leading game publisher NCSOFT shot up 5.5 percent to 863,000 won.
Top pharmaceutical company Samsung Biologics retreated 1.35 percent to 801,000 won, with Celltrion dipping 1.93 percent to 304,500 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem rose 0.66 percent to 762,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI gained 2.74 percent to 469,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, contracted 2.39 percent to 163,500 won, and top steelmaker POSCO lost 2.33 percent to 188,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,185 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.8 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.7 basis points to 0.852 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1.8 basis points to 1.132 percent.
Source: Saudi Press Agency