SEOUL, March 22 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks lost for the second consecutive session Monday as investors’ concerns about the increase in bond yields reduced their appetite for risky assets. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 4.07 points, or 0.13 percent, to close at 3,035.46 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 903 million shares worth some 13.1 trillion won (US$11.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 456 to 389.
Foreigners sold a net 546 billion won and institutions offloaded a net 33 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 580 billion won.
“The combined selling spree by foreigners and institutions dragged down the KOSPI, while raising the secondary KOSDAQ shares,” Hana Financial Investment said.
Stocks turned lower after a choppy start, due to increasing bond yield concerns over earlier-than-expected post-pandemic inflation. Last week, the yields of the 10-year U.S. Treasury finished at the highest levels in about 14 months.
Steel and machinery shares performed strong in Seoul on expectations of an increase in global demand, while chemical and bio shares slumped.
Chipmakers posted mild gains amid the KOSPI’s fall, backed by a 13.6 percent on-year increase in the outbound shipments of memory chips.
Top cap Samsung Electronics edged up 0.12 percent to 82,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix closed unchanged at 138,000 won.
Giant steelmaker POSCO jumped 5.2 percent to 303,500 won, and top automaker Hyundai Motor slipped 0.22 percent to 229,000 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem declined 3.01 percent to 805,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI retreated 2.87 percent to 642,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics gained 0.99 percent to 715,000 won, but top internet portal operator Naver fell 1.37 percent to 396,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,128.4 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.2 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 1.6 basis points to 1.130 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 3.7 basis points to 1.615 percent.