Seoul stocks snap 7-day winning streak on valuation pressure

SEOUL, April 21 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks snapped their seven-day winning streak to plunge 1.5 percent on Wednesday, as investors attempted to cash in recent gains. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 49.04 points, or 1.52 percent, to close at 3,171.66.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.7 billion shares worth some 16.7 trillion won (US$14.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 597 to 277.

Foreigners sold a net 1.43 trillion won, while retail investors purchased a net 2.71 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 1.28 trillion won.

The stock index gained for the past seven days until Tuesday amid expectations of a global economic rebound and better earnings reports in the January-March season.

Stocks increasingly lost ground in the late afternoon amid an intensifying foreign selling binge which centered around chemicals, tech and heavy industries.

“The KOSPI faced minor resistance after making relatively steady gains since late last month,” Samsung securities analyst Seo Jeong-hoon said.

“The spreading of the new coronavirus in Asia seems to have nudged investors into selling for profit,” he said.

Most large caps closed lower in Seoul.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics shed 1.55 percent to 82,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 4.33 percent to 132,500 won.

Internet portal giant Naver declined 2.69 percent to 380,500 won, with its rival Kakao decreasing 1.26 percent to 118,000 won. Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.53 percent to 225,500 won.

Giant chemical maker LG Chem fell 3.25 percent 864,000 won, and top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics dropped 0.48 percent to 833,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,118.6 won to the U.S. dollar, down 6.3 won from the previous session’s close.