Seoul stocks turn lower late Mon. morning on virus resurgence

SEOUL, Oct. 26 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks turned lower late Monday morning on concerns that a resurgence of COVID-19 cases could hamper a much-coveted economic recovery.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 1.34 points, or 0.06 percent, to 2,359.47 as of 11:20 a.m.

The KOSPI fell into negative terrain after opening a tad higher on U.S. stimulus hopes.

Investor sentiment worsened as the country’s new COVID-19 infections bounced back into the triple digits with 119, marking a sharp rise from the 61 cases reported Sunday.

A recent global spike in the number of COVID-19 infections have led governments to take stronger virus curb measures, dashing hopes for an earlier-than-expected economic recovery.

Spain declared a national state of emergency over the weekend, imposing an overnight curfew, while Italy announced a shutdown of cinemas, gyms and other public locations that began Monday to stem the spread of the virus.

In Seoul, most large caps traded mixed.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.83 percent, following the death of its chairman a day earlier, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix edged up 0.24 percent.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics inched up 0.31 percent, and Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, added 0.6 percent.

Internet portal giant Naver declined 1.05 percent, and leading chemical maker LG Chem dropped 2 percent.

The local currency was trading at 1,128.7 won against the U.S. dollar, up 4.2 won from the previous session’s close.