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Seoul Shares End Sharply Lower on Global Market Plunge
A financial institution in Seoul

South Korean stocks closed sharply lower on Feb.28 due to a global stock market crash triggered by the previous day's heavy share losses in China, analysts said..

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) tumbled 37.26 points, or 2.56 percent, to 1,417.34. Volume was heavy at 320.5 million shares worth 4.38 trillion won (US$4.6 billion), with losers outpacing winners 545 to 92.

"The main index's nosedive was sparked by China's massive stock losses the previous day, which sent shock waves through global markets," said Park Seok-hyun, an analyst at Kyobo Securities.

On Tuesday, China's main Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 8.8 percent, the biggest daily loss in nearly a decade, on rumors of imminent government intervention to slow the sizzling economy, including a plan to levy higher taxes on stock profits.

The plunge prompted similar sell-offs throughout other regions, with the Dow Jones finishing 4.32 percent lower on Tuesday and the Nikkei 225 stock average closing 2.85 percent lower during the session.

After falling as much as 4.13 percent in early trading, the main index managed to reduce losses in the afternoon on the back of bargain hunters, Park said.

Shares were battered across the board. Market leader Samsung Electronics slipped 2.41 percent and chip rival Hynix Semiconductor fell 2.50 percent to 31,150 won.

Brokerage shares plummeted on concerns that a bear market could erode their profits. Leading brokerage Samsung Securities slid 3.14 percent to 52,500 won.

Carmakers also came under selling pressure, with industry leader Hyundai Motor sliding 1.57 percent to 69,000 won.

The local currency closed at 941.8 won to the dollar, down 3 won from Tuesday's close, in line with the Japanese yen's drop against the greenback, dealers said. The won and yen tend to move in tandem.

The yen fell against the dollar following a government report showing a slump in Japanese industrial production and retail sales, dealers added.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, finished unchanged. The return on the benchmark three-year Treasuries held steady at 4.86 percent, with the yield on five-year government bonds closing flat at 4.88 percent.(Yonhap News)






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