South Korean shares closed lower Tuesday, falling for the second straight session, amid concerns of a global resurgence in COVID-19 cases and growing uncertainties over the US presidential election. The Korean won continued to rise against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 13.07 points, or 0.56 percent, to close at 2,330.84.
Trading volume was moderate at 643.2 million shares worth 9.9 trillion won ($8.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 555 to 278.
Foreigners picked up a net 104.4 billion won worth of local stocks, and retail investors purchased a net 106.1 billion won.
Institutions turned net sellers, offloading a net 248.6 billion won, after six straight sessions of buying.
While local stocks got off to a weak start, it shifted toward positive terrain in the late morning on the back of upbeat central bank data, which showed the country's economy grew in the July-September period on-quarter for the first time since the pandemic began.
Investor sentiment worsened, however, on concerns of a global resurgence in the virus, especially in Europe.
"Europe is showing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, with France reporting over 50,000 cases in a day," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said. "Concerns over an economic slump there raise the likelihood of a slow recovery for the global economy."
Other analysts pointed out uncertainties surrounding the US presidential election slated for next week.
"Until there is a clear picture of the US election result, the market will likely exhibit an aimless trend," said Kim Dae-jun, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.
In Seoul, large caps ended mixed.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.99 percent to 59,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 0.72 percent to 82,600 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics rose 0.79 percent to 635,000 won, and Celltrion gained 0.42 percent to 239,000 won.
Leading automaker Hyundai Motor added 0.58 percent to 172,500 won, and smaller affiliate Kia Motors soared 10.32 percent to 52,900 won.
Top chemical maker LG Chem slumped 2.17 percent to 632,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,125.5 won to the US dollar, up 2.2 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.9 basis point to 0.917 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1.4 basis points to 1.206 percent. (Yonhap)