South Korean stocks fell by more than 1 percent Tuesday amid growing fears over the resurgence of the new coronavirus at home and overseas. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 23.76 points, or 1.09 percent, to close at 2,164.17, ending its three-session winning streak. Trading volume was high at about 837 million shares worth some 14.7 trillion won ($12.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 581 to 263.
The index erased earlier gains amid concerns over the rising COVID-19 infections, despite economic recovery hopes.
"The stocks turned bearish following reports that COVID-19 is far from being contained," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Foreigners sold a net 391.5 billion won, the largest sell-off since June 15. Institutions offloaded a net 461.8 billion won, snapping a five-day buying spree. Individuals purchased a net 853.8 billion won. Fears grew after top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said Monday (US time) that any vaccine developed to treat COVID-19 would offer "finite" protection.
South Korea added 44 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, marking a slight decrease from 48 cases on Monday and 61 on Sunday. But health officials warned of a rise in virus infections in metropolitan areas and imported cases.
Most large caps traded lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics tumbled 2.91 percent to 53,400 won after peaking at 55,900 won on a stellar second-quarter earnings guidance report.
No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 1.40 percent to 84,800 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 0.40 percent 751,000 won, while leading chemical maker LG Chem added 1.38 percent to 516,000 won.
The country's largest automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.27 percent to 99,200 won, with its auto parts-making affiliate Hyundai Mobis falling 1.71 percent to 201,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,195.70 won against the US dollar, up 0.10 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.1 basis points to 0.846 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2.0 basis points to 1.116 percent. (Yonhap)