Seoul shares ended lower Tuesday, tracking falls on Wall Street, as investors stay cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve's rate decision this week. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index fell 25.39 points, or 1.04 percent, to close at 2,425.08 points. The Kospi ended in negative territory for a second straight session after reporting gains in the previous five sessions.
Trading volume was moderate at about 606 million shares worth 10.15 trillion won ($8.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 498 to 367.
Foreigners sold a net 484.9 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting institutions and individuals' stock purchases valued at 475 billion won.
The Fed is widely expected to raise rates by a quarter percentage point to a new range of 4.5 percent to 4.75 percent on Wednesday, slowing the pace of its monetary tightening.
But investors are awaiting the Fed officials' comments on future policy directions and the US jobs report on Friday to take a cue for their portfolios' reorganization, analysts said.
"Foreign selling weighed on the stock market as the Fed's policy meeting nears and Samsung Electronics came up with disappointing fourth-quarter earnings results," Kim Seok-hwan, an analyst at Mirae Asset Securities Co., said.
In Seoul, most large-cap stocks declined.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 3.6 percent to 61,000 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix inc. dropped 2.4 percent to 88,500 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. declined 1.8 percent to 167,000 won, and leading refiner SK Innovation Co. shed 1 percent to 162,100 won.
Among gainers, leading cosmetics firm AmorePacific Corp. rose 0.6 percent to 145,500 won, leading car battery maker LG Energy Solution climbed 2.2 percent to 521,000 won, and the country's sole aircraft manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries Co. was up 0.8 percent to 48,100 won.
The local currency closed at 1,231.90 won against the dollar, down 4.5 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)