March 12, 2020 / 7:15 AM / 19 days ago

S.Korean stocks end at lowest since Aug 2015 on pandemic worries

* KOSPI plunges nearly 4% Foreigners sold net $741.4 mln worth of shares

* KRW drop 1% against USD

* S.Korea benchmark bond yield rises

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, March 12 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korean shares tumbled to a 4-1/2-year low on Thursday as worries about the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak deepened after the United States suspended travel from Europe and world health officials declared the virus a pandemic. The won fell over 1%, while and the benchmark bond yield rose. ** The KOSPI pared some of its losses after the Korea Exchange activated sidecar, a brief halt of programme trading, on the index for the first time since 2011. The sidecar activates when prices fluctuate 5% from the previous close for over a minute. ** The benchmark KOSPI closed down 73.94 points, or 3.87%, at 1,834.33, its lowest close since Aug. 24, 2015. It fell as much as 5.23% on Thursday and has declined 16.53% so far this year. ** Foreigners were net sellers of 895.2 billion won ($741.43 million) worth shares on the main board. ** South Korea on Thursday reported 114 new infections, as well as six more deaths, bringing the national tally to 7,869, with 66 deaths. ** U.S. President Donald Trump announced the United States will suspend all travel from Europe, except from the United Kingdom, to the United States. ** The World Health Organization described the new coronavirus as a pandemic for the first time on Wednesday. ** The premium for South Korean credit default swaps for the 5-year government bonds spiked to the highest level since March 2018 in early trade. ** The won ended the onshore trading at 1,206.5 per dollar, 1.12% lower than its previous close at 1,193.0. It has lost 4.2% so far this year. ** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,207.7 per U.S. dollar, down 1.2% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,206.6 per dollar. ** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 4.66%, while Japanese stocks closed down 4.41%. ** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI was 837.14 million shares. Of the total traded issues of 905, the number of advancing shares was 19. ** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 111.46, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.40% in late afternoon trade. ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 3.3 basis points to 1.060% in late afternoon trade, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 0.3 basis points to 1.375%.

$1 = 1,207.4000 won Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Aditya Soni

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