SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks slumped for the second consecutive session Tuesday, as investors sought to cash in part of recent gains amid spiking virus cases. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 5.38 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,756.82, with construction and bio sectors having led the KOSPI’s retreat.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 15.3 trillion won (US$14.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 564 to 290.

Market heavyweights came under foreign and institutional selling.

Foreigners dumped a net 388 billion won, extending their selling spree to a fourth straight session, with institutions selling a net 249 billion won. Retail investors bought a net 605 billion won.

“Despite the overnight reports on U.S. vaccination, the KOSPI was weighed down by increasing pressure from the COVID-19 outbreaks,” Hana Financial & Investment analyst Lee Young-gon said.

South Korea’s daily COVID-19 cases remained high at nearly 900 Tuesday after hitting a daily record of 1,030 cases Sunday, prompting authorities to consider tougher restrictions.

In addition, analysts said investors are testing the waters ahead of the next U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, set for Tuesday and Wednesday (U.S. time), for any positive note for the financial markets.

Market bellwether Samsung Electronics closed unchanged at 73,800 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix gained 0.43 percent to 117,500 won.

Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics shed 1.48 percent to 800,000 won, but Celltrion advanced 0.7 percent to 360,000 won.

Internet portal giant Naver lost 1.05 percent to 283,000 won, with its rival Kakao moving down 0.67 percent to 371,000 won.

Leading chemical maker LG Chem rose 1.01 percent to 801,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI climbed 0.55 percent to 552,000 won.

Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, declined 0.26 percent to 188,500 won, while top steelmaker POSCO dipped 2.71 percent to 269,0 00 won.

The local currency closed at 1,093.3 won per dollar, down 1.5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.2 basis point to 0.984 percent, while the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.1 basis points to 1.317 percent.