SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks snapped their three-day winning streak Thursday, as foreign and institutional investors sought profits following a recent hike. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 42.13 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 3,087.55 points.
Trading volume was high at about 1.3 billion shares worth around 20.4 trillion won (US$18.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 539 to 305.
Foreigners sold a net 640 billion won, ending their three-day buying streak, while retail investors purchased a net 2.5 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 1.8 trillion won.
Stocks quickly fell to the negative terrain due to strong foreign and institutional selling, after the key index rallied 5.2 percent in the past three sessions.
Analysts said the government’s recent extension of a short selling ban also affected the foreign selling.
“The extended short selling ban would not be a positive event in the eyes of foreign investors, because it would never be helpful in their hedging strategies,” Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said.
Most large caps closed lower in Seoul.
Top cap Samsung Electronics lost 2.48 percent to 82,500 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix shed 3.85 percent to 125,000 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics declined 1.45 percent to 813,000 won, and Celltrion retreated 1.73 percent to 341,500 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor added 1.22 percent to 248,500 won, with its smaller affiliate Kia Motors gaining 0.41 percent to 98,100 won.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem edged up 0.1 percent to 1 million won, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI moved down 1.45 percent to 747,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,118.5 won against the U.S. dollar, down 3.6 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys rose 0.6 basis point to 0.984 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 0.8 basis point to 1.324 percent.