SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s stock market extended its losing streak to a third session Monday, weighed down by concerns of early post-pandemic inflation. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 12.12 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 3,144.3 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 581 million shares worth some 11.5 trillion won (US$10.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 646 to 232.
Foreigners sold a net 238 billion won, while retail investors purchased 177 billion won. Institutions bought a net 51 billion won.
The KOSPI got off to a weak start as accelerating inflation may sap demand for risky assets.
Stocks dropped in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s latest minute that flagged the possibility of discussing the right time for the tapering of its asset buying program last week.
Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said the Fed might have to discuss the matter sooner than later.
“U.S. stocks retreated due to its tech losses, in spite of the strong economic data,” Mirae Asset Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
“Investor sentiment seems to have weakened from concerns that the Fed may speed up its tapering move, in addition to the recent plunge in the cryptocurrency markets,” he noted.
Tech and bio shares retreated in Seoul, while bank and telecommunications advanced.
Most large caps finished lower, with top cap Samsung Electronics declining 0.5 percent to 79,700 won and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix decreasing 2.45 percent to 119,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver shed 1.25 percent to 355,500 won, and pharmaceutical giant Celltrion slumped 2.42 percent to 262,000 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem moved down 0.22 percent to 892,000 won, but top automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.22 percent to 228,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,127.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.1 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 2.1 basis points to 1.116 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 2.2 basis points to 1.651 percent.