South Korean stocks ended their four-session winning streak on Wednesday, as investors rushed to reap profits from the recent stock rally. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 7.66 points, or 0.31 percent, to close at 2,435.92.
Trading volume was moderate at about 755 million shares worth some 11.6 trillion won ($9.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 543 to 308.'
Institutions dumped a net 328 billion won, while foreigners bought a net 175 billion won.
Investors attempted to cash in recent gains after the index shot up to the highest since June 2018 the previous day.
Expectations about positive comments from the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), with its meeting set to conclude Thursday (Korea time), limited a further fall.
In its last meeting, the FOMC revealed a shift of mid- and long-term policy in its inflation target.
Market consensus is that the FOMC is likely to unveil more detailed easing plans, such as stronger forward guidance and asset-buying plans, to buoy the pandemic-hit market.
In Seoul, large caps closed lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics closed flat at 61,000 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shedding 0.49 percent to 81,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver retreated 1.6 percent to 307,000 won, with its rival Kakao down 1.05 percent to 377,000 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem plunged 5.37 percent to 687,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI retreated 0.66 percent to 449,500 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 0.39 percent to 776,000 won, and Celltrion gained 0.34 percent to 297,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, advanced 2.51 percent to 183,500 won, while top steelmaker Posco slipped 0.26 percent to 189,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,176.1 won against the US dollar, up 2.9 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.3 basis point to 0.91 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond slipped 1 basis point to 1.188 percent. (Yonhap)