South Korean stocks fell 0.81 percent Thursday as investors took profits from a two-day rally in the previous sessions, analysts said. The local currency lost ground against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 16.34 points to finish at 2,004.40. Trading volume was moderate at 382.2 million shares worth 3.63 trillion won (US$3.35
billion) with decliners far outstripping gainers 511 to 287.
"Foreigners opted to unload their holdings in top-cap Samsung Electronics and other blue-chip exporters," said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co.
The KOSPI rallied in the last two sessions on heightening anticipations over an economic recovery. But investor appetite for profit-taking following the main index's recent gains capped a further upward move, Bae added.
Foreign and institutional investors sold a net 63.3 billion won and a net 88.6 billion won, respectively.
Samsung Electronics, whose market cap takes up 19 percent of the total, slumped 2.56 percent to 1,520,000 won, with the second-largest listed firm Hyundai Motor declining 0.69 percent to 216,000 won.
Shares of financial firms came under pressure, with No. 4 lender Shinhan Financial sinking 1.65 percent to 41,800 won, led by foreign selling.
In contrast, leading polysilicon manufacturer OCI shot up 2.31 percent to 177,000 won on the back of analysts' sanguine outlook on the solar energy market.
The local currency ended at 1,087.10 won against the greenback, down 4.5 won from Wednesday's close, mainly due to the foreign selloff, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasuries moved up 0.02 percentage point to
2.66 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also added 0.02 percentage point to 2.77 percent. (Yonhap News)