Seoul shares ended lower on Tuesday as investors remain concerned about inflation despite US President Joe Biden's remark that US tariffs imposed on Chinese imports are being reviewed for reduction. The South Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 41.51 points, or 1.57 percent, to 2,605.87. Trading volume was moderate at 837.87 million shares worth 8.6 trillion won (US$6.8 billion), with decliners outpacing gainers 742 to 136.
Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 604 billion won worth of stocks, exceeding individuals' stock purchases valued at 580 billion won.
The main index opened higher, bucking overnight gains on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2 percent to 31,880.24, and the tech-focused Nasdaq index gained 1.6 percent to 11,535.27.
Investors remain cautious about the Federal Reserve's additional rate hikes to curb inflation and the impact of China's COVID-19 lockdown on the global economy, analysts said.
"They await a cue from the Fed minutes to be released this week and earnings results of US retail companies this week. Their results are set to affect global stocks," Yoo Myeong-gan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Daewoo, said.
In Seoul, most large-cap stocks declined, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. down 2 percent to 66,500 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. falling 4 percent to 108,500 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. losing 1.6 percent to 185,000 won.
Among gainers, state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. rose 3.5 percent to 23,500 won, state-owned Korea Gas Corp. climbed 0.1 percent to 42,150 won, and leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution was up 0.1 percent to 438,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,266.20 won against the US dollar, down 2.10 won from Monday's close. (Yonhap)