South Korean stocks fluctuated to close lower Tuesday as institutional buyers went on a heavy selling-spree to partially offset some foreign buying, analysts said. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index surrendered 4.02 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 2,394.73. Trade volume was low at 243 million shares worth 4.5 trillion won ($4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 447 to 345.
Foreigners went on a two-day buying streak and purchased a net 80.2 billion won worth of shares on the main exchange, while institutional investors offloaded a net 153.5 billion won.
The Seoul index had opened higher on Wall Street gains. On Monday (local time), US stocks closed higher, with the Dow edging up 0.12 percent to its ninth-record closing high in a row and the S&P 500 adding 0.16 percent on consumer and technology sector gains.
"The US stocks climbed on the back of tech and display gains, including Apple. Relevant shares on the KOSPI also gained, but an upward momentum was hindered by various factors, such as falling oil prices," said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities.
Large caps on the Seoul bourse closed mixed.
Tech shares ended higher, with top cap Samsung Electronics adding 0.29 percent to end a three-day losing streak by closing at 2,386,000 won. SK hynix, a major chipmaker, jumped 3.43 percent to 66,300 won.
Auto stocks closed bearish, with leading automaker Hyundai Motor losing 2.7 percent to 144,000 won and its sister company, Kia Motors, shedding 4.45 percent to 35,400 won. Hyundai Mobis decreased 1.38 percent to 250,000 won. On Monday, unionized workers at Hyundai Motor said they will stage partial strikes in an apparent bid to put pressure on management amid the on-going wage deal.
Chemical shares also closed lower. LG Chem, the country's top chemical firm, lost 1.16 percent to 340,000 won, and No. 2 player Lotte Chemical was down 1.78 percent to 386,500 won.
Leading game publisher NCsoft added 1.82 percent to close at 391,000 won despite the announcement of weak earnings for the second quarter. The gain is apparently due to the huge popularity of its mobile game, "Lineage M."
The local currency closed at 1,125.1 won against the US dollar, up 2 won from Monday's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 3.3 basis points to 1.805 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year debt moved up 2.8 basis points to 2.006 percent. (Yonhap)