South Korean stocks traded 0.24 percent lower late Monday morning, led by losses in steelmakers and chemical companies, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 4.92 points to 2,021.57 as of 11:20 a.m.
Leading steelmaker POSCO sank nearly 3 percent, with smaller player Hyundai Steel also dropping 2.4 percent.
Chemical issues trended downward, with LG Chem dipping more than 2 percent.
In contrast, autos gathered ground. Hyundai Motor was up 1.2 percent and Ssangyong Motor, the smallest player, rose 2.5 percent.
The local currency was changing hands at 1,091.85 won against the greenback as of 11:20 a.m., down 8.9 won from Thursday's close.
The Seoul markets were closed on Friday for the Independence Movement Day. (Yonhap News)