South Korean stocks finished lower Monday, as investors opted to cash in recent gains after the main bourse closed at a record high the previous session, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 8.56 points, or 0.33 percent, to close at 2,549.41. Trade volume was moderate at 209 million shares worth 5 trillion won ($4.48 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 488 to 324.
The local stock market opened lower despite a rally in US stocks last week, with large cap technology shares, including Samsung Electronics, losing ground on profit-taking.
"Upbeat earnings reports from US companies have a positive impact on the local stock market, but investors opted to lock in recent gains amid uncertainties over the two countries' bilateral free trade agreement," said Seo Sang-young, a researcher at Kiwoom Securities Co.
President Moon Jae-in and his US counterpart Donald Trump are set to hold summit talks on Tuesday, as Trump embarked on his first trip to Asia last week.
During the summit, trade is expected to be high on the agenda along with North Korean issues. The two countries recently launched a formal discussion on modifying their bilateral trade deal.
Institutional investors dumped a net 368 billion won, while individuals and foreign investors bought a net 181 billion won and 145 billion won worth of local stocks, respectively.
Most large caps finished in negative terrain.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics remained unchanged at 2,819,000 won, while SK hynix, a global chipmaker, dropped 1.07 percent to end at 83,500 won.
POSCO, a leading steelmaker, plunged 2 percent to 319,000 won, and LG Chem, South Korea's leading chemicals firm, lost 1.21 percent to close at 409,000 won.
Auto shares were also among the losers, with No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor declining 1.86 percent to end at 158,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors sliding 0.99 percent to 34,900 won.
Its auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis, meanwhile, gained 0.55 percent to 272,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,115.00 won against the US dollar, down 1.2 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys moved up 1.9 basis points to 2.152 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds rose 2.1 basis points to 2.387 percent. (Yonhap)