Seoul shares snapped their three-day winning streak Wednesday as investors await the latest minutes of the Federal Reserve that will give them an idea of its future rate policy to combat high inflation. The Korean won fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 17.05 points, or 0.67 percent, to close at 2,516.47 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 410 million shares worth some 7.04 trillion won ($5.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 633 to 229.
Institutions sold a net 201 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting foreigners and individuals' combined purchases valued at 210 billion won.
The KOSPI opened higher amid market speculation that inflation pressure is peaking, making a global recession less likely.
But the main index fell back in negative territory as investors cashed in part of recent gains ahead of the US central bank's minutes due Wednesday (US time).
Large-cap stocks were mixed across the board.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 1 percent to 60,400 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. rose 0.4 percent to 97,100 won. Top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. declined 3.8 percent to 190,000 won, but national flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. gained 1.5 percent to 27,000 won.
State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp remained unchanged at 21,700 won, but state-run Korea Gas Corp. jumped 3.6 percent to 41,250 won. Leading refiner SK Innovation Co. gained 3.2 percent to 210,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,310.30 won against the US dollar, down 2.20 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)