The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks ended a four-session winning streak Thursday as investors sought to lock in recent gains amid concerns of inflation. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 31.17 points, or 0.97 percent, to close at 3,175.85 points.
Trading volume was moderate at 731.76 million shares worth some
13.99 trillion won ($11.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 472 to 371.
Foreigners offloaded a net 380.8 billion won worth of local shares, and institutions sold a net 575.5 billion won. Retail investors scooped up a net 942.7 billion won.
The key index got off to a lackluster start, following a mixed session on Wall Street, as investors attempted to cash in gains.
"The KOSPI fell as foreign and institutional selling grew,"
Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Kwang-nam said. "Most sectors kept steady, although banking shares expanded losses amid reports of KakaoBank's block deal."
Shares in the online lender dropped on reports that the Korea Post offloaded the majority of its stake a day earlier in after-hours trading.
Park added that inflation concerns also lingered after new data showed that South Korea's consumer prices rose 2.6 percent last month from a year earlier.
Rising inflation has led the country's central bank to raise the benchmark interest rate last month for the first time in nearly three years.
Most large caps in Seoul closed lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics retreated 1.04 percent to 76,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.39 percent to 106,500 won.
Kakaobank plunged 7.77 percent to 81,900 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI slumped 4.82 percent to 750,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics fell 1.46 percent to 948,000 won, and Celltrion shed 0.86 percent to 288,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor slipped 1.63 percent to 211,500 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem declined 1.39 percent to 711,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver moved down 0.56 percent to 442,500 won, while online messaging giant Kakao added 0.65 percent to 155,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,161.5 won against the US dollar, down 4.3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)