SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks closed in negative terrain on Friday as investors sold stocks to lock in profits. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 5.86 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 3,156.42 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 787 million shares worth some 14.6 trillion won (US$13 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 674 to 189.

Foreigners sold a net 135 billion won, while retail investors purchased 59 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 59 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,156.42 on May 21, 2021, down 5.86 points, or 0.19 percent, from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

Stocks opened strong, tracking a 1.77 percent gain on the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite. Expectations of a local economic rebound also grew on the 53.3 percent on-year increase in local exports in the first 20 days of May.

But the stock market came under selling pressure as investors sold to cash in profits after the key index neared the 3,200-point mark.

Investor doubts about early inflation lingered in local financial markets, pegging the KOSPI’s gains.

“The KOSPI seems to have lost its direction at the moment,” said DS Investment & Securities analyst Yang Hye-jeong.

“Such conditions may last for another month or two, until we have more data on the second-quarter earnings,” she said.

In Seoul, top cap Samsung Electronics added 0.75 percent to 80,100 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix closed unchanged at 122,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver moved up 2.56 percent to 360,000 won, while pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics dipped 3.37 percent to 861,000 won.

Leading chemical firm LG Chem declined 1 percent to 894,000 won, but top automaker Hyundai Motor increased 1.34 percent to 227,500 won. Giant steelmaker POSCO retreated 1.37 percent to 360,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,127.0 won against the U.S. dollar, up 5 won from the previous session’s close.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.8 basis point to 1.095 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 1.3 basis points to 1.629 percent.