South Korea’s secondary Korea Securities Automated Quotation (Kosdaq) market fell below the 600 mark on Monday for the first time in nearly three years on worsening trade conditions with renewed tariff war between the United States and China and escalated tensions between Korea and Japan.
The Kosdaq closed 7.46 percent or 45.91 points lower at 569.79 on Monday, after opening 0.16 percent or 1.01 points off the previous closing of 614.69. The index touched as low as 569.78 during intraday trading. It is the first time for the junior index to fall below the 600 mark in two years and 8 months after 594.35 on December 9, 2016, kicking off a side-car, a 5-minute cool-off period of the Kosdaq tumbled more than 5 percent.
The Korea Exchange (KRX), the country’s stock exchange authority, activated its first sidecar in more than three years after the junior index plunged more than 6 percent, suspending program trading of shares for five minutes due to heavy fluctuation in the prices of Kosdaq 150 Futures and Kosdaq 150 Index.
The last two times trading was temporarily suspended due to share price plunge was on February 12 and June 24 in 2016.
Bio shares were biggest losers.
[Photo by Kim Ho-young]
Shares of SillaJen, a biotechnology company that announced recently to end clinical trial of its virus-based immuno-oncology treatment Pexa-Vec, fell to its lowest to close 29.97 percent lower at 21,850 won ($18). Shares of MedyTox Inc., a leading botulinum toxin producer, also fell 19.07 percent to close at 317,500 won, Celltrion Healthcare, the distribution arm of major biosimilar developer Celltrion, 9.5 percent to 40,000 won, and Helixmith Co. 17.36 percent to 149,900 won.
Hana Financial Investment said that the Korean won expanded its loss against the dollar by more than 10 won on Monday before closing at 1,215.3 won to the greenback, shying off foreign investors that respond sensitively to fluctuations in the won-dollar exchange rate.
The brokerage noted that investor sentiment will remain subdued for a while especially amid growing political uncertainties not only in Korea but around the world.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index, meanwhile, also finished 2.56 percent lower at 1,946.98 on Monday. The market opened 12.2 points or 0.61 percent lower at 1,985.93 and fell to as low as 1,945.39 during intraday trading, the lowest since 1,931.07 on November 9, 2016.
By Chung Seung-hwan and Lee Eun-joo
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