South Korean stocks extended losses late Friday morning amid rising concerns over the fast spreading novel coronavirus in the country.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 25.94 points, or 1.18 percent, to 2,169.56 as of 11:20 a.m.
The index started weak, tracking overnight Wall Street losses, and struggled to move upward. The index took a further hit after South Korea reported 52 new cases of the new coronavirus Friday morning, raising the total number of infections in the nation to 156.
The number of COVID-19 infections here has almost tripled in just three days, with most new infections traced to church services in the southeastern city of Daegu, raising concerns of community spread.
Most large caps were in negative terrain.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slid 1 percent, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.96 percent.
Leading automaker Hyundai Motor dropped 1.54 percent, and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 1.08 percent.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung BioLogics plunged 2.91 percent, and the country's No. 1 chemical firm LG Chem dipped 1.43 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,205.40 won against the US dollar, sharply down 6.70 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)