The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) figures are displayed at a dealing room of a local bank in Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Seoul shares closed lower for a second straight session Tuesday on foreign selling amid concerns over inflation sparked by surging prices of oil and other energy resources. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 39.92 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 2,916.38 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 648 million shares worth some 12.5 trillion won ($10.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 572 to 310.
Foreigners sold a net 821 billion won worth of stocks, and institutions offloaded 199 billion won worth of stocks. Retail investors bought 979 billion won shares, keeping the main index from falling further.
Foreigners and institutions offloaded stocks, as they expect a recent fall in the US jobless data would not suffice to slow the US Federal Reserve's timeline for tapering its stimulus, analysts said.
KOSPI declined despite a rate-freeze by the central bank. The Bank of Korea held its policy rate at 0.75 percent in October.
The index slumped the entire session on spiking energy costs, with benchmark oil prices surpassing US$80 a barrel on expectations the global power shortage would last longer.
A coal shortage in China also fanned anxiety of less production of industrial metals, such as aluminum.
Most shares closed lower across the board.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. plunged 3.5 percent to 69,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 2.7 percent to 91,500 won.
Leading automaker Hyundai Motor Co. shed 0.2 percent to 204,500 won, and state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. dropped 2.4 percent to 22,250 won.
Among gainers, leading car battery maker LG Chem Ltd. jumped 4.2 percent to 796,000 won, and No. 1 refiner SK Innovation Co. climbed 3.4 percent to 256,500 won. National flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. advanced 0.2 percent to 31,350 won.
The local currency closed at 1,198.80 won against the US dollar, down 4.20 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)