South Korean shares shed 1.1 percent on Thursday as investor sentiment was dented by China's stock rout and heightened geopolitical risks stemming from North Korea's nuclear test. The local currency sank to a four-month low against the U.S. currency.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 21.1 points to end at a four-month low of 1,904.33. Trade volume was moderate at 388 million shares worth 4.9 trillion won ($4.08 billion), with losers beating winners 607 to 223.
Analysts said the local stock market was affected heavily by the Chinese market, which underwent a second trading suspension this week. Trading on the Chinese stock market was suspended completely after share prices sank more than 7 percent earlier in the morning.
"The falling South Korean won also chilled investor sentiment here," said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities Co. "Rising tension with North Korea is also a risk."
On Wednesday, North Korea said it conducted a successful hydrogen bomb test. While the actual success of the test is still in doubt, the international society, including the United States and China, strongly voiced concerns over Pyongyang's provocation.
Foreigners sold a net 267.7 billion won, and institutional investors bought a net 9 billion won. Individuals bought a net 183 billion won.
Tech shares closed mixed, with Samsung Electronics falling 1.02 percent to 1,163,000 won while top chipmaker SK Hynix lost 1.79 percent to 30,200 won. LG Electronics advanced 0.55 percent to 55,000 won.
Steelmakers also closed bearish, with leading POSCO moving down 2.67 percent to 164,000 won and Korea Zinc shedding 0.44 percent to 455,000 won. Hyundai Steel lost 2.63 percent to 48,100 won.
Top mobile carrier SK Telecom lost 1.92 percent to 204,000 won and KT slid 1.25 percent to 27,750 won. LG Uplus, in contrast, increased 0.99 percent to 10,250 won.
Hyundai Motor shed 1.79 percent to 137,500 won, while auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis moved up 1.07 percent to 237,000 won. Kia Motors decreased 0.2 percent to 49,300 won.
The local currency ended at 1,200.60 won against the greenback, down 2.7 won from the previous session's close, apparently also hit by the North Korean provocation. It also marked the lowest level since Sept. 8 last year, when the won fell to 1,200.90 won.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys held steady at 1.639 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds fell 0.8 basis point to 1.780 percent. (Yonhap)