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S.Korean stocks hit 22-month low on foreign selling
Last Updated: 2018-10-29 15:49 | Xinhua
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South Korean stocks hit the lowest in about 22 months on Monday as the main stock index kept falling for the fifth trading day on the foreign selling of local listed stocks.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 31.10 points, or 1.53 percent, to settle at 1,996.05. Trading volume stood at 416 million shares worth 6.13 trillion won (5.37 billion U.S. dollars).

It marked the first time since Dec. 7, 2016 that the KOSPI fell below 2,000 points. The main index continued to slide for the fifth consecutive session as foreigners dumped domestic shares.

Foreigners remained net sellers in the market for the eighth straight session. Retail investors reduced stock holdings, but local financial institutions bought shares, limiting the KOSPI's further decline.

The country's financial regulator announced a plan to create a fund for the stabilization of the capital market, but it failed to block the foreign selling.

Market sentiment worsened recently amid the lingering uncertainties, such as trade conflict among major economies and the expected interest rate hike by the Bank of Korea (BOK), South Korea's central bank, possibly in November.

Blue-chip shares ended mixed. Memory chip giant SK Hynix dipped 0.3 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.9 percent. The country's No.1 biosimilar maker Celltrion tumbled 4.4 percent, and Samsung BioLogics, the biopharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group, the country's biggest family-run conglomerate, sank 2.6 percent.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1 percent, and leading chemical firm LG Chem advanced 3.6 percent. The biggest mobile operator SK Telecom added 0.4 percent.

South Korea's currency finished at 1,141.4 won against the greenback, up 0.5 won from the previous close.

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