South Korean stocks shed 0.41 percent Monday as investors took a breather after the sharp gain tallied last week, analysts said. The local currency gained against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 7.59 points to close at 1,855.73. Trading volume was low at 217 million shares worth 2.93 trillion won ($2.57 billion) with gainers outpacing losers 465 to 355.
Analysts said the decline came as investors turned cautious after the KOSPI jumped 4.64 percent over the last three trading sessions in the past week.
"Seoul shares lost ground as investors opted to recoup an excessive gain over the previous trading sessions," said Han Beom-ho, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp. "The rising concerns over the U.S. and Chinese economies also dented foreigners and institutional investors' sentiment."
Kim Sun-young, a researcher at IBK Investment & Securities Co., echoed this view, adding that the stock market may gather ground down the road on the European Central Bank's monetary policy meeting and the announcement of Samsung Electronics' earnings guidance scheduled this week.
Foreigners offloaded more shares than they bought at 29.9 billion won, and institutions also sold a net 64.2 billion won. In contrast, retail investors purchased a net 70.1 billion won.
Market behemoth Samsung Electronics fell 1.19 percent to 1,326,000 won. In contrast, its smaller rival LG Electronics added 0.41 percent to 73,300 won and top flat panel maker LG Display gained 0.36 percent to 27,550 won.
Carmakers closed lower, with Hyundai Motor losing 1.11 percent to 223,000 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors falling 0.16 percent to 62,000 won. Top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis shed 0.92 percent.
Mobile carriers also lost ground, with No. 1 player SK Telecom moving down 2.38 percent to 205,000 won and KT decreasing 1.96 percent to 35,100 won. LG Uplus, the smallest player, shed 1.26 percent to 11,800 won.
Logistics firms closed bearish, with Hyundai Glovis falling
1.81 percent to 190,000 won and leading air carrier Korean Air losing 1.46 percent to 30,300 won. Hyundai Merchant Marine moved down 3.12 percent to 13,950 won.
The local currency ended at 1,132.40 won against the greenback, up 9.60 won from Friday's close as Asian currencies traded higher against the U.S. dollar as China's manufacturing activity for June met target, dealers said. (Yonhap News)