South Korean stocks closed lower to extend their losing streak to a third day Thursday as the country's central bank raised its key policy rate to fight inflation and household debt.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 14.02 points, or 0.47 percent, to close at 2,980.27 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 587 million shares worth some 9.3 trillion won ($7.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 642 to 228.
Foreigners and institutions offloaded a net 94.5 billion won and 149.3 billion won, respectively, while retail investors scooped up 202.3 billion won.
The KOSPI got off to a weak start after minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)'s latest meeting showed a much more hawkish stance.
Also, the Bank of Korea (BOK) raised the benchmark seven-day repo rate by 0.25 percentage point to 1 percent and revised up its consumer inflation outlook for this year.
"Macro events such as the FOMC minutes hinting hawkish content and the BOK's decision to raise the rate act as downward pressure to the market," Kiwoom Securities analyst Kim Sae-hun said.
Most tech heavyweights traded lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slumped 1.47 percent to 73,700 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 1.67 percent to 117,500 won.
In contrast, internet portal operator Naver went up 0.51 percent to 397,000 won, and Kakao, the operator of the country's most-used messenger, jumped 2.81 percent to 128,000 won.
Kakao Bank went up 4.95 percent to 67,900 won, and leading payment service provider Kakao Pay skyrocketed 18.31 percent to a record high of 216,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,190.2 won against the US dollar, down 3.7 percent from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)