South Korean stocks ended lower Thursday as foreign investors and institutions cashed in recent gains following a month-long rally amid US uncertainties, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 2.77 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 2,344.61. Trade volume was moderate at 331 million shares worth 5.28 trillion won ($4.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 449 to 355.
Institutional investors and foreigners offloaded a net 107 billion won and 21.6 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively, while individuals were net buyers by snatching up 74.6 billion won.
The local stock market opened lower following overnight Wall Street losses. On Wednesday (local time), the US stocks dropped for the second consecutive day. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.1 percent, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index shedding 0.08 percent.
"Foreigners are taking a conservative stance for a short term ahead of the biggest event in June, the Federal Open Market Committee's policy meeting," said Bae Sung-young, a market analyst at KB Securities Co.
Most large caps closed mixed with medical and utility shares finishing in positive terrain.
Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, surged 4.09 percent to hit a record high of 229,000 won.
State-run utilities firm Kepco gained 3.04 percent to 44,000 won.
Tech shares were in negative terrain with top cap Samsung Electronics ending at 2,234,000 won, down 0.04 percent from the previous session's close. Smaller rival LG Electronics lost 1.45 percent to 81,300 won, and global chipmaker SK hynix also shed 1.05 percent to 56,400 won.
Major shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy, meanwhile, added 3.18 percent to close at 178,500 won on news that the company and its two affiliates have secured orders valued at a combined U$3.8 billion, meeting some half of their annual order target.
Top discount chain store E-mart added 0.41 percent to a yearly high of 244,000 won after announcing that it will close down the stores in China.
Auto shares closed mixed, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor gaining 1.53 percent to 165,500 won and its sister company, Kia Motors, adding 1.28 percent to 39,550 won. Hyundai Mobis, meanwhile, lost 0.55 percent to 273,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,122.00 won against the greenback, down 2.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.6 basis points to 1.645 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds shed 1.6 basis points to 1.860 percent. (Yonhap)