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Seoul stocks up on drop in virus cases

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks rebounded Monday amid easing concerns about the country's new coronavirus cases and the China Evergrande Group's debt crisis. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 8.4 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 3,133.64 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 872 million shares worth some 12.1 trillion won ($10.3 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 492 to 373.

Foreigners bought a net 337 billion won, while retail investors sold 340 billion won. Institutions purchased a net 9 billion won.

After a lackluster start, the KOSPI rebounded on the lower-than-expected COVID-19 cases Monday.

Foreigners purchased stocks as South Korea's daily COVID-19 cases receded to slightly under 2,400 Monday from a record high of 3,273 on Saturday.

Investors were monitoring the risks from the massive $310 billion debt of giant Chinese property developer Evergrande that caused high volatility in the Asian markets last week.

"In contrast to the losses in China, the KOSPI showed a relatively steady performance -- investors seem to have realized that the ripples from the (Evergrande) risk may not be as destructive," Daeshin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min said.

The US Federal Reserve's chief is set to testify at a Senate hearing Tuesday (US time).

In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics gained 0.52 percent to 77,700 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix increased 0.48 percent to 104,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver lost 0.62 percent to 403,000 won, and pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics lost 0.22 percent to 920,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved up 1.18 percent to 770,000 won, but top automaker Hyundai Motor retreated 1.45 percent to 204,000 won. Top bank stock Kakao Bank climbed 1.01 percent to 498,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,176.8 won against the US dollar, down 0.3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
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