February 3, 2020 / 2:26 AM / 22 days ago

S.Korea stocks drop nearly 2% as virus scare roils markets

    * KOSPI drops, foreigners net sellers
    * Korean won weakens versus U.S. dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

    SEOUL, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
South Korean shares opened sharply lower on Monday as the number
of confirmed cases from a newly identified virus in China surged
over the weekend, but the main index recouped a part of early
losses as investors hunted for battered stocks. The Korean won
and the benchmark bond yield weakened.
** The death toll from the new coronavirus in China's Hubei
province rose by 56 to 350 on Monday, Chinese state television
reported citing official figures, as investors braced for
volatility when Chinese markets reopen after the Lunar New Year
** South Korea said on Monday it will put in place policies to
minimize the impact on its economy of the coronavirus outbreak,
and vowed to act to calm any financial market instability. 
** As of 0212 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI        
was down 7.04 points, or 0.33%, at 2,111.97. Earlier in the
session, the benchmark index plunged as much as 1.7%. 
** Asian markets are set for another bumpy ride on Monday on
fears about the hit to world growth from the rapidly spreading
coronavirus, with all eyes on China where trading resumes
following the Lunar New Year break.                
** Before the pace of the disease's spread slows down, the index
would remain under the influence of the virus issue, said Cho
Byung-hyun, an analyst at Yuanta Securites Korea. The index
recouped early losses, as some investors' bargain-hunted IT
heavyweights, he added.
** Shares of Samsung Electronics             and SK Hynix
            each traded nearly 1% firmer, after opening weaker. 
** South Korean exports had suffered a sharper contraction in
January, but average exports per working day rose 4.8% on-year,
the first expansion in 14 months.                 
** Foreigners were net sellers of 86.3 billion won ($73.94
million) worth of shares on the main board. 
** The won was quoted at 1,197.3 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.46% lower than its previous
close at 1,191.8.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,193.9 per
U.S. dollar, up 0.1% from the previous session, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,193.4 per dollar.
** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
                was down 0.85%, after U.S. stocks stumbled on
Friday            . Japanese stocks         fell 1.06%.
** The KOSPI dropped 3.87% so far this year, and lost 2.4% in
the previous 30 trading sessions.
** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index
        was 311.08 million shares and, of the total traded
issues of 905, the number of advancing shares was 165.
** The won lost 3.4% against the dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         rose 0.07 points to 110.83, while the
3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.42%. 
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 2.2
basis points to 1.277%, while the benchmark 10-year yield
dropped 2.7 basis points to 1.528%.    

    ($1 = 1,167.2000 won)    

 (Reporting by Hayoung Choi, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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