SEOUL, March 24 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks retreated for a fourth consecutive session Wednesday as concerns over the resurgence in virus cases in Europe and the United States cast doubts over a prompt recovery from the pandemic. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 8.39 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 2,996.35 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 965 million shares worth some 13.1 trillion won (US$11.6 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 430 to 423.
Foreigners sold a net 479 billion won and institutions offloaded a net 434 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 897 billion won.
The KOSPI closed below the psychologically important 3,000-point threshold for the first time in two weeks, led by losses on auto and tech shares.
The stock index posted a weak performance despite the overnight decline in the U.S. Treasury yields, as investors remained wary of spikes in coronavirus cases in major economies, including Germany, France and Italy.
“Local stocks received downward pressure from the economic lockdown measures in Europe and the potential strengthening of the U.S. dollar against the European currency,” Daeshin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min said.
Top cap Samsung Electronics lost 0.98 percent to 81,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix retreated 1.11 percent to 133,500 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem gained 1.16 percent to 784,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI added 1.76 percent to 635,000 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor shed 2.43 percent to 221,000 won.
Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics increased 0.42 percent to 716,000 won, and Celltrion climbed 2.56 percent to 300,000 won.
Top internet portal operator Naver advanced 0.26 percent to 387,000 won, with its rival Kakao hiking 0.31 percent to 492,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,133.6 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.9 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.7 basis points to 1.115 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 4.9 basis points to 1.537 percent.