January 31, 2020 / 7:29 AM / 19 days ago

S.Korean stocks post sharpest weekly loss in 15 months on virus scare

* KOSPI drops 1.4%, foreigners net sellers

* Korean won weakens versus U.S. dollar

* South Korea benchmark bond yield rises

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korean shares tumbled on Friday and posted their steepest weekly decline in 15 months on worries over the coronavirus epidemic that the World Health Organization declared a global emergency. The Korean won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield rose. ** The number of confirmed cases of the virus in the country climbed to 11, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The virus had claimed 213 lives in China, as of Thursday. ** The rising number of confirmed cases in South Korea pressured the KOSPI, said Na Jeong-hwan, an analyst at DS Investment & Securities. ** The Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI ended down 28.99 points, or 1.35%, at 2,119.01. ** Whipped by the flu-like virus that originated in China, the benchmark index lost 5.7% this week, its biggest weekly drop since October 2018. On a monthly basis, the KOSPI declined 3.6%. ** A charter flight carrying 368 South Koreans from Wuhan arrived home on Friday as tensions simmered around quarantine centres where they will be isolated, a plan vehemently opposed by nearby residents. ** Foreigners were net sellers of 423.4 billion won ($362.75 million) worth of shares on the main board. ** The won was quoted at 1,191.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.57% lower than its previous close at 1,185.0. ** The currency posted a decline of about 1.9% for the week, marking its steepest fall since April 2019. It weakened nearly 3% against the dollar in January. ** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,192.2 per U.S. dollar, down 0.4% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,191.6 per dollar. ** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.39%, after U.S. stocks climbed overnight. Japanese stocks rose 0.99%. ** The KOSPI is down 3.58% so far this year, but gained 0.5% in the previous 30 trading sessions. ** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 696.88 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 908, the number of advancing shares was 164. ** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 110.76, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.42% in late afternoon trade. ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.1 basis points to 1.299% in late afternoon trade, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 0.5 basis points to 1.555%.

($1 = 1,167.2000 won)

Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Aditya Soni

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