SEOUL, April 27 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks edged down Tuesday amid increased valuation pressure, with investors taking to the sidelines ahead of a meeting of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slipped 2.11 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 3,215.42 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 1.5 billion shares worth some 16.8 trillion won (US$15.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 437 to 417.

Foreigners sold a net 338 billion won and institutions offloaded a net 108 billion won, while retail investors purchased 454 billion won.

Electronic signboards at a Hana Bank dealing room in Seoul show the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 3,215.42 points on April 27, 2021, up 2.11 points, or 0.07 percent, from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)

Stocks got off to a lackluster start on increased valuation pressure, as investors wondered whether to sell stocks for profit after the KOSPI’s three days of gains. Foreign and institutional selling led the KOSPI’s retreat.

Concerns about early post-pandemic inflation remained low, with the FOMC widely expected to hold on to its dovish stance to support the economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Resistance near the (KOSPI’s) all-time peak and investors’ wait-and-see mode seem to be pressing down the stock prices,” Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said.

General optimism about economic recovery from the pandemic pegged the KOSPI’s further loss.

Earlier in the day, the South Korean central bank said the country’s gross domestic product expanded 1.6 percent on-year in the first quarter this year, up from a 1.2 percent expansion in the final quarter of last year.

Most large caps closed higher in Seoul. Steel, energy and bank sectors performed strong, while auto, bio and tech declined.

   Top cap Samsung Electronics lost 0.72 percent to 82,900 won, while No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix advanced 2.66 percent to 135,000 won.

   Giant internet portal operator Naver climbed 0.66 percent to 380,000 won, and its rival Kakao moved up 2.97 percent to 121,500 won.

   Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics shed 1.47 percent to 807,000 won, with Celltrion declining 3.86 percent to 274,000 won.

   Leading chemical firm LG Chem added 0.91 percent to 891,000 won, but rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI decreased 0.58 percent to 685,000 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor retreated 0.68 percent to 220,000 won.

   The local currency closed at 1,110.4 won against the U.S. dollar, up 2.8 won from the previous session’s close.

   Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 2.2 basis points to 1.097 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 1.8 basis points to 1.584 percent.