SEOUL, Nov. 12 (Yonhap) — South Korean shares snapped an 8-session winning streak Thursday, as growing lockdown concerns in major economies sapped investor sentiment. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
After a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 10.25 points, or 0.41 percent, to close at 2,475.62.
Trading volume was high at about 1.3 billion shares worth some 15.7 trillion won (US$14.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 443 to 402.
Foreigners bought a net 490 billion won, with retail investors purchasing a net 355 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 862 billion won.
The KOSPI got off to a weak start after the benchmark index hit an over 2-year high the previous session over vaccine hopes.
Stocks fared bearish amid toughened COVID-19 quarantine measures in major economies.
South Korean authorities are also mulling stronger distancing guidelines, as local cases continued to rise by triple digits for a fifth day Thursday.
“It is notable that the actual mass injections of COVID-19 vaccine would take a considerable time, whereas the spreading speed of the illness is uncontrollably fast,” Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
“Certain levels of lockdowns may be inevitable in order to handle the outbreaks, and that would cause some economic slowdowns,” he added.
In Seoul, most large caps closed lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.49 percent to 61,000 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix added 1.26 percent to 88,100 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 1.05 percent to 753,000 won, and Celltrion dipped 1.52 percent to 292,000 won.
Internet portal giant Naver slipped 0.36 percent to 279,000 won, but its rival Kakao climbed 0.56 percent to 357,500 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem closed flat at 692,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI moved up 0.59 percent to 515,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, declined 0.85 percent to 174,000 won, and top steelmaker POSCO shed 0.84 percent to 236,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,114.8 won per dollar, down 4.8 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 2 basis points to 0.969 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 2.1 basis points to 1.319 percent.