The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks retreated Wednesday as investors attempted to cash in gains amid concerns that the corporate earnings may wane after a strong third quarter.
The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 23.59 points, or 0.77 percent, to close at 3,025.49 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 598 million shares worth some 10.1 trillion won (US$8.6 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 626 to 232.
Foreigners sold a net 293 billion won and institutions offloaded a net 350 billion won, while retail investors bought 614 billion won.
After a weak start, the key stock index lost ground on foreign and institutional sell-offs.
"Investors seem to have taken to short-term sell-offs to take profit, largely out of worries (over listed firms)," said DS Investment & Securities analyst Yang Hye-jeong.
"They seem to be concerned about chances of potential stagflation, a downslide in exports and corporate earnings after peaking in the third quarter of this year," she said.
Tech, chemical and bank losses led the KOSPI's retreat, while bio stocks performed well.
Top cap Samsung Electronics declined 1.41 percent to 70,100 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 0.49 percent to 101,500 won, and leading chemical firm LG Chem shed 0.6 percent to 825,000 won. Hyundai Motor traded flat at 213,500 won.
Among gainers, internet portal operator Naver moved up 0.48 percent to 414,500 won, and pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics gained 2.16 percent to 898,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,170 won against the US dollar, down 2.4 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)