Seoul shares fell for a third straight session Thursday, largely as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the release of US inflation data later this week and amid woes over an economic slowdown. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 0.71 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 2,625.44 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 806 million shares worth some 10.6 trillion won (US$8.4 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 591 to 272.
Institutions bought a net 526 billion won, and retail investors purchased 378 billion won, while foreigners dumped 946 billion won.
Stocks came off to a weak start, taking a cue from overnight Wall Street losses.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite retreated 0.73 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.81 percent amid concerns that the Federal Reserve may push for more aggressive monetary policies if the May consumer price index, to be released Friday (US time), remains high.
Also adding to investors concerns is the growing possibility of stagflation as growth outlook by the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development for major economies is being slashed.
"The concerns about slow growth and rising inflation are weighing down stock prices. The overall investor sentiment has become weaker," Yuanta Securities analyst Kang Dae-seok said.
In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics slipped 0.15 percent to 65,200 won, and giant battery maker LG Energy Solution shed 0.71 percent to 422,500 won.
Leading automaker Hyundai Motor dropped 0.27 percent to 182,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreased 0.47 percent to 105,500 won. Bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics retreated 2.05 percent to 811,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,256.9 won against the US dollar, down 3.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)