South Korean stocks closed 0.47 percent lower on Tuesday due to rising uncertainties over the eurozone following Italy's election, analysts said. The local currency fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) moved down 9.51 points to 2,000.01. Trading volume was moderate at 422.2 million shares worth 3.5 trillion won (US$3.22 billion) with losers outpacing gainers 479 to 336.
"Investor sentiment was dented by the outcome of Italy's elections," said Bae Sung-young, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co. "Rising concerns over the automatic spending cuts by the U.S.
also weighed down the market."
In the overnight election, Italy's center-left Democratic Party failed to win a majority of seats in the upper house.
Market watchers earlier predicted the center-left party would win a majority in both the upper and lower houses, establishing a stable government to tackle the prolonged fiscal crisis.
Foreigners offloaded a net 121.8 billion won worth of local shares, and institutional investors sold a net 14.3 billion won.
Retail investors scooped up a net 130.9 billion won.
Carmakers traded lower due to the weak Japanese yen, with No. 1 player Hyundai Motor falling 0.47 percent to 213,500 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors losing 0.91 percent to 54,500 won.
Hanwha Life Insurance fell 9.79 percent to 7,190 won following reports that Hanwha Chemical offloaded shares in the insurer to keep its balance sheet in shape.
Mobile carriers also closed lower, with leading SK Telecom falling 1.13 percent to 174,500 won and No. 2 player KT moving down 1.28 percent to 34,600 won. No. 3 player LG Uplus shed 2.14 percent to 8,670 won.
In contrast, CJ Cheiljedang, the country's top foodmaker, added 2.19 percent to 373,000 won on the back of falling global grain prices.
Tech shares also gathered ground, with top chipmaker SK hynix climbing 0.95 percent to 26,550 won, and top flat panel manufacturer LG Display adding 0.16 percent to 30,900 won. However, market behemoth Samsung Electronics fell 0.2 percent to 1,527,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,088.00 won against the greenback, down 1.70 won from Monday's close, due to the gloomy outlook over the eurozone economy, dealers said. (Yonhap News)