SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks tumbled Tuesday, led by technology stock sell-offs, as investors’ sentiment worsened over inflation woes. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 39.87 points, or 1.23 percent, to close at 3,209.43 points.
Trading volume was high at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 21.2 trillion won (US$18.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 447 to 419.
Foreigners sold a net 2.2 trillion won, and retail investors purchased 3.6 trillion won, both the highest daily transactions since Feb. 26. Institutions offloaded a net 1.4 trillion won.
Stock prices dipped after the stock index’s four-session winning streak that had stemmed from the eased tapering jitters on Wall Street.
Spiking commodity prices reignited inflation concerns, driving down the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite by 2.55 percent overnight. The Dow Industrial Average and the S&P 500 retreated 0.1 percent and 1.04 percent, respectively.
After falling through the 3,200-point mark, the KOSPI erased part of earlier losses in the afternoon.
“(Stocks partly rebounded) with investors betting on the U.S. economic recovery and a slow tapering,” Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics shed 2.4 percent to 81,200 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix tumbled 5.38 percent to 123,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver declined 3.59 percent to 349,000 won, and leading carmaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.31 percent to 226,500 won.
Giant chemical maker LG Chem edged down 0.11 percent to 911,000 won, and pharmaceutical firm Celltrion decreased 1.64 percent to 270,500 won.
Steelmaker POSCO advanced 0.61 percent to 409,500 won, and telecommunications service provider SK Telecom added 0.31 percent to 319,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,119.6 won to the U.S. dollar, down 5.8 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.8 basis point to 1.128 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.8 basis point to 1.627 percent.