South Korean stocks ended lower Tuesday, as investors kept a wary eye on the US central bank's hawkish monetary tightening stance and China's economic slowdown amid its COVID-19 lockdown. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 26.34 points, or 0.98 percent, to close at 2,666.76 points.
Trading volume was moderate at around 854.23 million shares worth some 9.54 trillion won ($7.72 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 643 to 226.
Investors fret over potential rapid rate hikes as the US Federal Reserve repeatedly signaled at an aggressive tightening policy to counter inflation.
The hawkish stance seemed to gain ground as the US is expected to report higher-than-anticipated consumer price index for March later in the day.
Overnight, the US stock markets tumbled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.19 percent, and the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note rose to 2.77 percent, the highest since early 2019.
Also, China's continued lockdown in Shanghai over rising infection cases is feared to disrupt the global supply chain and drag down China's economy, which would dampen global economic growth.
"The US market saw its stocks, especially techs, falter amid a spike in Treasury yields and the continued war in Ukraine," Suh Sang-young from Mirae Asset Securities said. "Heightened concerns over economic slowdown and supply chain disruptions fueled by the lockdown in Shanghai have also dampened investor sentiment."
On the Seoul bourse, shares fell across the board.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics shed 1.33 percent to 67,000 won, and key battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 3.29 percent to 411,000 won.
Major chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.45 percent to 111,000 won, and LG Chem tumbled 0.98 percent to 505,000 won. Game developer Krafton dropped 5.15 percent to 267,000 won.
Kakao Pay, the fintech arm of internet giant Kakao, bucked the trend, rising 3.11 percent to 132,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,236.20 won against the US dollar, down 3.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)