October 25, 2018 / 2:28 AM / a year ago

S.Korea stocks fall to lowest since Jan 2017 tracking global rout

    * KOSPI index tumbles as much as 3 pct
    * Korean won falls versus U.S. dollar
    * South Korea bond yields down

    SEOUL, Oct 25 (Reuters) - South Korean shares fell as much
as 3 percent on Thursday to hit their lowest since January 2017,
tracking the rout on Wall Street and in Asian markets.
    The benchmark KOSPI index         was down 2.46 percent, or
51.63 points, at 2,045.95 as of 02:17 GMT. 
    The index has lost more than 10 percent so far this month
and is down more than 15 percent this year, driven lower by
various global uncertainties, including a prolonged trade spat
between the United States and China.            
    "The biggest factor of the latest plunge is Wall Street,"
said Kim Doo-un, an analyst at KB Securities. "Even though
Korean markets have not been moved based on their own
fundamentals in recent days, the country's meager economic
growth in third quarter has affected markets."
    Asia's fourth largest economy grew only 0.6 percent in the
third quarter from the previous quarter, with a plunge in
domestic investment weighing on broader activity.              
    Among KOSPI stocks, chip giants fell sharply, tracking U.S.
tech shares. Samsung Electronics             and SK Hynix
           , two top KOSPI firms, stumbled 3 percent and 4.2
percent, respectively, with the tech sub-index         down 3.2
    Biopharma companies Samsung Biologics             and
Celltrion            , are set to post their fourth straight day
of losses, tumbling 5.5 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively,
with a block deal on Celltrion shares on Monday weighing on the
broader sector.              
    "A recovery would seem difficult with the Sino-U.S. trade
conflict extending and the U.S. Fed expected to keep raising
interest rates," said Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at Shinhan
    The junior KOSDAQ index         fell more than 3 percent
intraday, hitting the lowest since October 2017. 
    As of 02:17 GMT, foreigners were net sellers of 106,839
million won worth of shares, while individuals sold 119,184
million won worth of shares. 
    The won was quoted at 1,138.7 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           ,  0.56 percent weaker than its
previous close at 1,132.3. 
    The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April
2 2018 and low is 1,146.26 on October 11 2018.
     In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year
treasury bonds          rose 0.11 points to 108.63.
    The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was
quoted at 1.7 percent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean
treasury bond yielded 1.977 percent, lower than the previous
day's 2.01 percent.

 (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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