South Korean stocks finished almost flat Wednesday, after paring earlier gains, as investors opted to cash in recent gains amid a bullish run, market analysts said. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index edged down 1.46 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 2,482.91.
Trade volume was moderate at 241 million shares worth 5.72 trillion won ($5.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 510 to 289.
The local stock market opened higher as top market cap Samsung Electronics continued to rise on third-quarter earnings hopes, but went south on profit-taking.
"Investors are being pressed to cash in recent gains down the road," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities. "Also, concerns over faster-than-expected rate hikes in the US are looming."
Samsung Electronics, the top market cap here, slipped 0.07 percent to end at 2,738,000 won.
SK hynix, a major chipmaker, dropped 3.11 percent to 80,900 won as investors continued to lock in recent gains.
Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal advanced 6.12 percent to end at 815,000 won, and LG Chem, the leading chemical firm, gained 2.95 percent to finish at 384,000 won.
AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker, shed 0.7 percent to end at 284,500 won, and Hyundai Motor, South Korea's largest automaker, edged up 0.67 percent to 145,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,129.90 won against the US dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys shed 1.2 basis points to 1.935 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.7 basis point to 2.139 percent. (Yonhap)