SEOUL, March 10 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks fell for the fifth consecutive session Wednesday, led by a decline in techs and autos, as foreigners and institutions attempted to lock in profits amid lingering concerns of inflation. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

After choppy trading, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 18.00 points, or 0.60 percent, to close at 2,958.12, after rising as high as 3,013.95 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 887.07 million shares worth around 12.87 trillion won (US$11.27 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 592 to 257.

Foreigners sold a net 10.49 billion won for the sixth straight session, while retail investors purchased a net 407.99 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 405.58 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,958.12 on March 10, 2021, down 18.00 points or 0.60 percent from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)

While the KOSPI got off to a strong start, tracking an overnight rally on Wall Street, the key index lost steam in the face of a slump in techs and autos.

“Foreigners and institutions are continuing their sell-off, weighing on the local market,” NH Investment & Securities analyst Noh Dong-kil said.

Samsung Securities analyst Kim Yong-goo noted that market volatility increased ahead of the expiration of options and futures on Thursday.

Most large caps in Seoul closed lower.

Top cap Samsung Electronics lost 0.61 percent to 80,900 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix skid 2.56 percent to 133,000 won.

Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics edged down 0.29 percent to 685,000 won, while Celltrion fell 0.7 percent to 285,500 won.

Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.73 percent to 227,500 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem jumped 3.48 percent to 891,000 won, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI remained unchanged at 636,000 won.

Top internet portal operator Naver added 2.90 percent to 372,000 won, while rival Kakao soared 4.31 percent to 460,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,142.70 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.40 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.4 basis points to 1.182 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond declined 2.6 basis points to 1.566 percent.