SEOUL, Sept. 24 — South Korean shares plunged to a more than one-month low on Thursday, as investors turned risk-averse following overnight Wall Street decline over withering hopes of a quick economic recovery. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 60.54 points, or 2.59 percent, to close at 2,272.7.
Trading volume was moderate at about 706 million shares worth some 12.3 trillion won (US$10.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 831 to 68.
Foreigners sold a net 196 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 354 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 154 billion won.
The KOSPI dipped to the lowest level since Aug. 3.
Investor sentiment worsened due to dimming U.S. stimulus hopes and the weaker-than-expected policy move by the Federal Reserve, analysts said.
“Investors seem to be disappointed by the latest FOMC meeting results, because it didn’t signal concrete measures (to tackle the pandemic’s fallout) that the market had expected,” said SK Securities analyst Han Dae-hoon.
With COVID-19 flaring up again around the world, investor sentiment worsened after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell reiterated that the economic recovery from the new coronavirus pandemic would take considerable time.
In Seoul, most large caps closed lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1.37 percent to 57,800 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 0.84 percent to 84,300 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics sank 4.54 percent to 673,000 won, and Celltrion plummeted 6.02 percent to 250,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver retreated 0.84 percent to 294,000 won, with its rival Kakao dipping 3.69 percent to 352,000 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem shed 3.02 percent to 611,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI sank 6.07 percent to 410,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, declined 4.46 percent to 171,500 won, and top steelmaker POSCO lost 3.59 percent to 188,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,172.7 won against the U.S. dollar, down 8.3 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 2.6 basis points to 0.857 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2 basis points to 1.129 percent.