SEOUL, March 8 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks fell under the 3,000-point threshold on Monday, as improved Chinese economic data and higher U.S. bond yields stoked renewed concerns over rising inflationary pressure. The Korean won weakened against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 30.15 points, or 1 percent, to close at 2,996.11 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.9 billion shares worth some 15.5 trillion won (US$13.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 551 to 302.
Foreigners sold a net 126 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 526 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 378 billion won.
The KOSPI advanced almost 1 percent in the morning session on China’s strong February export data, which more than doubled on-year.
But the key stock index scuttled as the communist state’s faster-than-expected economic rebound sparked concerns over post-pandemic inflation that emerged on rising yields of U.S. Treasurys.
Analysts also noted that market volatility increased ahead of the expiration of options and futures, set for March 11.
In Seoul, steel and financial stocks performed well, while medical, chemical and tech stocks slumped.
Top cap Samsung Electronics slipped 0.12 percent to 82,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix dipped 3.21 percent to 135,500 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 1.55 percent to 890,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI shed 3.13 percent to 650,000 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.91 percent to 230,500 won.
Giant pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics went down 3.2 percent to 696,000 won, and top internet portal operator Naver lost 2.38 percent to 368,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,133.2 won against the U.S. dollar, down 7.1 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed sharply lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 7.3 basis points to 1.139 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 5.9 basis points to 1.497 percent.