SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks finished lower for a second straight day Tuesday, as uncertainties increased, with investors seeking to take profits ahead of the expiration of stock options. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 6.57 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 3,084.67 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 2.1 billion shares worth some 18.1 trillion won (US$16.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 362 to 474.
Foreigners sold a net 223 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 48 billion won. Institutions bought a net 159 billion won.
The key stock index got off to a bullish start, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street that stemmed from growing hopes of progress in the U.S. stimulus talks.
The key stock index recovered the 3,100-point threshold in the morning session, but pared earlier gains as foreign selling increased.
“Investors’ caution ahead of the stock options’ expiration day and the Lunar New Year’s holiday seem to have prodded investors to cash in recent gains,” Shinhan Financial Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.
“The KOSPI is likely to go choppy for the rest of the month, considering that the U.S. stimulus talks are still in process,” he said.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics lost 0.36 percent to 82,700 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix hiked 0.4 percent to 125,500 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor gained 1.07 percent to 236,500 won, following heavy losses the previous session, after saying that it is not in talks with U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. over an electric vehicle project. The carmaker’s affiliate Kia closed 1.62 percent lower to 84,900 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem retreated 1.72 percent to 973,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI climbed 0.26 percent to 772,000 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics moved down 0.25 percent to 802,000 won, and Celltrion declined 2.38 percent to 328,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver added 0.42 percent to 358,500 won, with its rival Kakao up 0.88 percent to 461,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,116.6 won to the U.S. dollar, up 3 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.1 basis points to 0.990 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.8 basis point to 1.319 percent.