South Korean stocks finished slightly lower Thursday after swerving in and out of positive territory for most of the session, as growing concerns over a possible tapering of monetary easing from the United States sapped investor
sentiment, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slipped 1.10 points, or 0.05 percent, to end at 2,000.10. Trading volume was moderate at 428.5 million shares worth 5.0 trillion won (US$4.41 billion) with decliners far outnumbering gainers 557 to 267.
"Worries that the U.S. might scale down its quantitative easing are having a direct impact on stock and bond markets," said Son Wie-chang, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co.
U.S. bond yields have gained sharply in the last few days, after analysts across the globe began to suggest a scenario of the world's No. 1 economy exiting from its easing strategy.
Hyundai-affiliated Kia Motors ended 0.17 percent lower to 59,200 won with SK hynix, a major chipmaker, falling 0.47 percent to 31,850 won.
Blue-chip mobile carrier SK Telecom slid 1.92 percent to 204,500 won and Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world's biggest shipyard, also fell 1.25 percent to 197,000 won.
But the top two listed firms, Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, closed up 2.12 percent to 1,544,000 won and 0.48 percent to 209,500 won, respectively.
Foreign investors continued their net buying binge for the second consecutive trading, snapping up a net 229.3 billion won, propping up the main index to keep its psychologically important 2,000 mark.
The local currency ended at 1,127.40 won against the greenback, up 5.5 won from Wednesday's close, as foreigners opted to buy equities here, dealers said. (Yonhap News)