SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) — South Korean stocks fell over 1 percent for the second straight session Wednesday as foreign investors dumped local shares amid growing worries over inflation. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 47.77 points, or 1.49 percent, to close at 3,161.66 points.
Trading volume was high at about 1.4 billion shares worth some 22.2 trillion won (US$19.83 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 705 to 178.
Foreigners offloaded a net 2.69 trillion won — the highest amount since Feb. 26 — and institutions sold a net 252 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 2.98 trillion won.
The local index got off to a weak start, tracking losses on Wall Street as spiking commodity prices fueled investor concerns of inflation and possibly earlier rate hikes.
Overnight, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 1.36 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.09 percent.
In Seoul, the KOSPI fell by as much as 2.2 percent during the session on foreign selling before trimming earlier losses.
“Market players appear to be concerned whether rising inflation will be an ongoing trend,” Kiwoom Securities’ analyst Han Ji-young said.
Mirae Asset Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said foreign offloading of local stocks ahead of the stock options’ expiration day Thursday further weighed on the market.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics moved down 1.48 percent to 80,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix declined 2.85 percent to 119,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver slipped 1.72 percent to 343,000 won, and Kakao retreated 1.31 percent to 113,000 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem tumbled 5.27 percent to 863,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI decreased 1.25 percent to 633,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Celltrion skid 2.96 percent to 262,500 won, while Samsung Biologics gained 4.77 percent to 856,000 won.
Leading carmaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.44 percent to 227,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,124.7 won to the U.S. dollar, down 5.1 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys lost 0.7 basis point to 1.121 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond fell 0.2 basis point to 1.625 percent.