October 25, 2018 / 7:39 AM / 20 days ago

S.Korean stocks hit lowest in over 1-1/2 years on global equities sell-off

* KOSPI index slumps for 3rd straight session, foreigners sell

* South Korea bond yields down

* Korean won drops versus U.S. dollar

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, Oct 25 (Reuters) - South Korean shares skidded to their lowest level since January 2017 on Thursday, as world stock markets tanked on worries over global growth, U.S. earnings and a multitude of other negative factors.

The benchmark KOSPI index ended down 1.63 percent, or 34.28 points, at 2,063.30, recouping some of the early losses when the benchmark dived over 3 percent.

The index has retreated over 11 percent so far this month and is down more than 16 percent this year, pressured by a host of global uncertainties, including a prolonged trade war between the United States and China and worries over rising borrowing costs in developed economies.

An overnight rout on Wall Street was the immediate trigger for the latest selloff in global markets, as investors were rattled by some weak U.S. earnings and soft economic data.

“While there’s no favorable factors, downside pressures are accumulating and we see no earning momentum in local stock markets,” Lee Jae-sun, an analyst at KTB Investment Securities, said.

South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor slumped nearly 6 percent after it posted a 68 percent decline in quarterly net profit. Its affiliates, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis, closed down 5.9 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

Global tech giant Samsung Electronics fell 3.6 percent while chipmaker SK Hynix lost 3 percent.

Bucking the market, the country’s top biopharma company Celltrion snapped a three-day losing streak and finished up 4.9 percent.

The earlier losses were triggered by a block sale of its shares by a Singapore’s Ion Investments, and during the session the stock jumped 12 percent from its session low.

The junior KOSDAQ index ended 1.78 percent lower, but like the benchmark index, it pulled back from more than a 3 percent tumble in the morning session.

Locally, there was not much to cheer either as data earlier showed Asia’s fourth largest economy grew a modest 0.6 percent in the third quarter from the previous quarter, with a plunge in domestic investment weighing on broader activity.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.12 points to 108.64.

The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.7 percent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.981 percent, lower than the previous day’s 2.01 percent.

The won was quoted at 1,138 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.5 percent weaker than its previous close at 1,132.3. (Reporting by Hayoung Choi Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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