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Seoul: Stocks slide as virus cases continue to rise

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South Korean shares fell on Friday after gaining for four-straight sessions, as investor confidence was shaken by soaring virus cases in the United States and around the world despite efforts to contain the outbreak.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares fell on Friday after gaining for four-straight sessions, as investor confidence was shaken by soaring virus cases in the United States and around the world despite efforts to contain the outbreak.

The Korean won weakened nearly 1 per cent against the US dollar, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

South Korea, which is battling the biggest outbreak outside China, reported 196 new cases on Thursday and a total of 6,284.

The death toll rose by seven to 42, according to the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The fast-spreading epidemic across the United States and Europe will keep investor sentiment weak, especially as the number of confirmed cases aren't decreasing in South Korea, said Kim Byung Yeon, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

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Shares of South Korea's airlines dropped as Japan decided to impose a two-week quarantine for visitors from South Korea amid the coronavirus outbreak. Shares of Korean Air Lines slumped 6 per cent, while Asiana Airlines declined 3.7 per cent.

As of 0223 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main Kospi fell 50.82 points, or 2.44 per cent, to 2,034.44. 

For the week, the Kospi gained 2.39 per cent.

Foreigners were net sellers of 337.6 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,191.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.86 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,181.2.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,191.6 per US dollar, down 0.2 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,190.9 per dollar. 

The Kospi has fallen 7.43 per cent so far this year, but lost 6.9 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The trading volume during the session in the Kospi index was 454.66 million shares.

Of the total traded issues of 901, the number of advancing shares was 65.

The won has lost 2.9 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 3.2 basis points to 1.019 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 5.5 basis points to 1.277 per cent.

REUTERS

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