SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) — South Korean shares closed nearly flat on Friday amid growing valuation woes in the financial markets. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 0.21 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,396.69. Trading volume was moderate at about 872 million shares worth some 11.9 trillion won (US$10 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 456 to 377.

Foreigners sold a net 164 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 451 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 322 billion won.

The KOSPI’s lackluster performance was largely attributed to the U.S. tech retreat and unimproved jobless benefits data from last week.

“Ample liquidity in the financial markets had been bolstering steep gains, which largely rose on future hopes, rather than value,” said Kiwoom Securities’ Seo Sang-young.

“The probable shift in recent investor sentiment is directing more attention to the current corporate value,” he added.

Investor sentiment also weakened on lingering U.S.-China political tensions and a slower-than-expected drop in new COVID-19 cases at home.

Most large caps closed lower in Seoul.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.34 percent to 59,000 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix jumped 2.35 percent to 78,400 won.

Internet portal giant Naver shed 0.49 percent to 306,000 won, with its rival Kakao down 1.69 percent to 379,000 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem declined 1.12 percent to 705,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI fell 0.12 percent to 429,500 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 0.39 percent to 761,000 won, and Celltrion closed flat at 298,500 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, gained 1.48 percent to 171,500 won, and top steelmaker POSCO closed flat at 185,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,186.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 1.1 basis points to 0.926 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 1 basis point to 1.228 percent.