South Korean stocks fell to end its two-day winning streak Thursday as investors weighed a fresh spike in global oil prices and lingering geopolitical concerns surrounding Ukraine. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 5.39 points, or 0.20 percent, to close at 2,729.66 points.
Trading volume was moderate at 927.75 million shares worth some 11.48 trillion won ($9.42 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 479 to 361.
The Seoul shares got off to a weak start, tracking overnight Wall Street losses, and had tumbled as much as 1.04 percent, as oil prices soared due to supply disruptions from a crucial pipeline on Russia's Black Sea coast.
But some of the early losses were recovered on strong individual buying, with individual investors buying a net 675.16 billion won worth of stocks. Foreigners and institutions dumped shares worth 473.55 billion won and 223.31 billion won, respectively.
"Looming additional sanctions by the US against Russia and more hawkish comments by Federal Reserve officials on rate hikes have affected investor sentiment. But part of those issues have already been reflected to limit the fall," Samsung Securities analyst Kim Yong-koo said.
Tech and bio shares ended lower to drag down the index.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.99 percent to 69,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix tumbled 2.43 percent to 120,500 won.
Bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics skidded 1.32 percent to 824,000 won, and Celltrion declined 0.88 percent to 168,000 won.
Top steelmaker Posco Holdings decreased 0.82 percent to 304,000 won on profit-taking, and Internet portal operator Naver went up 1.59 percent to 340,000 won.
But chemicals and energy shares ended in positive territory.
Major battery maker LG Energy Solution added 0.25 percent to 408,000 won, and LG Chem spiked 4.53 percent to 531,000 won. SK Innovation rose 0.48 percent to 211,500 won, and S-Oil surged 1.34 percent to 90,600 won.
The local currency closed at 1,218.80 won against the US dollar, down 5.0 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)