South Korean stocks closed lower on Friday as investors sought safer assets amid the tension surrounding the Korean Peninsula, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index dropped 13.73 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 2,134.88. Trade volume was slim at 343 million shares worth 3.31 trillion won ($2.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 592 to 207.
Despite the eased concerns, the South Korean market has been dogged by speculation that Pyongyang may stage another nuke or missile test in the near future.
"The market fell at a steeper pace on the remark made by Pyongyang which hinted that a nuke test can take place at any time," said Lee Kyung-min, a researcher at Daishin Securities Co.
Foreign investors offloaded a net 75.8 billion won worth of local stocks, while institutions scooped up a net 44.8 billion won.
Individuals bought a net 21.8 billion won.
Tech shares closed bearish, with market behemoth Samsung Electronics falling 0.94 percent to 2,101,000 won. LG Electronics and LG Display shed 1.73 percent and 1.29 percent, respectively, to 68,300 won and 30,500 won.
Mobile carriers also closed lower, with No. 1 player SK Telecom falling 0.81 percent to hit 243,500 won and second-largest KT remaining unchanged at 31,400 won. LG Uplus, the smallest in the country, moved down 0.35 percent to 14,250 won.
Brokerage stocks also ended lower, with top player Mirae Asset Daewoo falling 0.12 percent to 8,650 won and NH Investment & Securities plunging 2.44 percent to 12,000 won. Samsung Securities lost 1.05 percent to hit 33,050 won.
Steelmakers closed mixed, with industry leader POSCO advancing 0.19 percent to 265,500 won and Korea Zinc losing 0.36 percent to 412,000 won. Hyundai Steel moved up 1.5 percent to 54,300 won.
The local currency closed at 1,140.00 won against the US dollar, down 10.3 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys moved up 0.3 basis point to 1.677 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 0.4 basis point to 1.859 percent.(Yonhap)