SEOUL, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- South Korean stocks fell Monday after a volatile trading due to rising worry about the COVID-19 resurgence here.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 7.86 points, or 0.28 percent, to settle at 2,762.20. Trading volume stood at 1.1 billion shares worth 16.8 trillion won (15.4 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI began 0.02 percent lower, and bobbed in and out of the positive territory before turning downward one and a half hours before the market close.
Foreigners remained net sellers in the local stock market for three straight sessions on growing concern about the COVID-19 resurgence.
In the latest tally, South Korea reported 718 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 43,484. On Sunday, the daily caseload recorded 1,030, topping 1,000 for the first time.
The daily number of infections here stayed above 100 for 37 straight days since Nov. 8 due to cluster infections in the Seoul metropolitan area.
Retail investors bought stocks on hope for the COVID-19 vaccine candidates, limiting the KOSPI's further decline.
Among large-cap shares, decliners outnumbered gainers. Leading chemical firm LG Chem slipped 1.9 percent, and Samsung BioLogics, a pharmaceutical unit of Samsung Group, shrank 1.0 percent. Biopharmaceutical giant Celltrion lost 1.0 percent, and the most-used search engine Naver retreated 1.4 percent.
The biggest automaker Hyundai Motor shed 0.5 percent, and rechargeable battery producer Samsung SDI slumped 1.3 percent. The No.2 carmaker Kia Motors dipped 0.8 percent, but market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.5 percent. Memory chip behemoth SK hynix gained 1.3 percent.
The small-cap KOSDAQ added 1.10 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 929.54.
The local currency finished at 1,091.8 won versus the greenback, down 1.5 won from the previous close.
Bond prices ended lower. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.6 basis points to 0.986 percent, and the return on the 10-year government bonds was up 0.9 basis points to 1.670 percent.