South Korean stocks inched down after a strong start late Tuesday morning, as shares of key retailers and pharmaceutical companies widened losses, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index retreated 0.9 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,289.75 as of 11:20 a.m.
Lotte Shopping, which runs the department store and hypermarket chain units of Lotte Group, the country's fifth-largest conglomerate, fell 1.3 percent. Another leading retailer Shinsegae also slid 1.8 percent.
Pharmaceutical firms Hanmi Pharm Co. and Yuhan Corp. lost about 1.6 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
In contrast, builders trended in positive territory, with Hyundai Engineering & Construction jumping 2.3 percent.
The local currency was changing hands at 1,117.80 won against the greenback, up 5.8 won from Monday's close. (Yonhap)