South Korean stocks fell Friday as foreign investors remained net sellers of local stocks, with sentiment partly subdued after Samsung Electronics said it may have to delay adopting a holding company format at present. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 3.77 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,168.95. Trade volume was moderate at 354 million shares worth 5.04 trillion won ($4.48 billion).
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun told shareholders earlier in the day that the company could put on hold a move to change the company's management structure.
US hedge fund Elliott Management has urged Samsung Electronics to split the electronics giant into a holding and operating company to improve transparency and shareholder returns.
Also, investors are cautiously awaiting a delayed US healthcare vote that is seen as a test of US President Donald Trump's ability to deliver on his economic policies.
Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookook Securities, said a sell-off by foreign investors may be short-lived because local stocks were undervalued, compared with stocks on other emerging markets.
Samsung Electronics fell 0.72 percent to end at 2,075,000 won, while SK hynix, a global chipmaker, rose 2.17 percent to 49,500 won.
Naver, the operator of the country's top Internet portal, gained 0.93 percent at 872,000 won.
Automakers traded in negative terrain, with industry leader Hyundai Motor down 0.61 percent to 164,000 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors edging down 0.13 percent at 37,250 won.
The local currency closed at 1,122.60 won against the US dollar, down 0.2 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 1.3 basis points to 1.679 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond added 2.4 basis points to 1.874 percent.(Yonhap)