South Korean stocks ended mildly lower Wednesday as investors took a wait-and-see stance to check the results of the US Federal Reserve's policy rate-setting meeting, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 2.06 points, or 0.09 percent, to close at 2,372.64. Trade volume was moderate at 386 million shares worth 6.63 trillion won ($5.89 billion), with losers slightly outnumbering gainers 418 to 407.
Institutional investors and foreigners offloaded a net 133.3 billion won and 35.5 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively, while individuals were net buyers by snatching up 52.7 billion won.
The local market opened higher on overnight Wall Street gains fueled by tech shares. On Tuesday (local time), the S&P 500 increased 2.45 percent to finish at a record high and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.44 percent. The Nasdaq Composite Index also gained 0.73 percent,
Market analysts said investors are increasingly turning their eyes to a two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The results will be available early Thursday in South Korea.
"The Korean market did open higher. However, investors took to profit-taking, and the rise was limited after the release of economic data in China and weak oil prices," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co.
Most large caps closed mixed.
Tech shares were mixed, with top cap Samsung Electronics ending at 2,268,000 won, down 0.09 percent from the previous session's close. Global chipmaker SK hynix, however, added 0.85 percent to a record-high 59,300 won.
Chemical shares closed bearish, with LG Chem falling 3.93 percent to 281,000 won and Amore Pacific losing 0.47 percent to 319,000 won. S-Oil also lost 1.34 percent to 95,800 won.
Auto shares, meanwhile, closed higher, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor gaining 2.74 percent to 169,000 won. Its sister company, Kia Motors, added 2.3 percent to end at 40,100 won and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis was up 0.95 percent to 266,000 won.
Samsung BioLogics, a biopharmaceutical affiliate of Samsung Group, lost 0.61 percent to 243,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,123.9 won against the greenback, up 4.4 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, moved lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 2 basis points to 1.681 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds was up 0.6 basis point to 1.871 percent. (Yonhap)