Electronic signboards at the trading room of Hana Bank in Seoul show the benchmark Kospi closed at 3,260.42 on Monday, down 9.94 points or 0.3 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks retreated for the third straight session Monday after choppy trading, as an estimate-beating improvement in US jobs data increased concerns about an early tapering. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) fell 9.94 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 3,260.42 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 685 million shares worth some 15.5 trillion won ($13.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 647 to 208.
Foreigners sold a net 207 billion won, while retail investors bought a net 950 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 747 billion won.
The Kospi got off to a weak start as US jobs data in July logged a steeper hike than the market consensus, fueling investor worries that the US Fed may pivot from its dovish stance and consider accelerating its timeline for a rollback of its accommodative policies.
The key stock index rebounded in the late morning, largely as financial market leader Kakao Bank skyrocketed 27.65 percent to an intraday high. The online banking unit of mobile messenger app Kakao Talk went public Friday.
The Kospi retreated toward the session's close as Kakao Bank trimmed its gains.
"After the US jobs data turned out strong, investors are paying keen attention to the July (inflation) indicators and the Jackson Hole meeting," Shinhan Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.
"Kakao Bank surged on the Kospi, but other (large) stocks' losses eventually offset its gains," he added.
Most large caps closed mixed, while bank and financial shares advanced.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics closed unchanged at 81,500 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix moved down 1.69 percent to 116,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver advanced 0.67 percent to 447,500 won, with its rival Kakao gaining 1.72 percent to 148,000 won on the strong performance of its financial unit.
Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics lost 1.09 percent to 909,000 won, and top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.67 percent to 221,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,144.3 won against the US dollar, down 2.2 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)