Seoul shares closed lower on Monday as investors remain concerned that the Federal Reserve may continue its aggressive monetary tightening following a stronger-than-anticipated US jobs report. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index retreated 15.01 points, or 0.62 percent, to 2,419.32. Trading volume was moderate at 379.8 million shares worth 7.6 trillion won ($5.87 billion), with decliners outnumbering gainers 446 to 407.
Institutions and foreigners sold a combined 301 billion won worth of stocks, offsetting individuals' stock purchases valued at 307 billion won.
Investors appear to be looking for any new clue for their asset readjustment following the release of a solid jobs report in November, analysts said, which may prod the Fed to implement more aggressive monetary tightening.
In Seoul, tech and auto stocks were lead decliners. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 0.2 percent to 60,300 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. declined 1.1 percent to 81,000 won, top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. shed 2.1 percent to 165,500 won, and leading auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis Co. dropped 2.1 percent to 209,000 won.
Among gainers, national flag carrier Korean Air Co. rose 2.6 percent to 25,650 won, leading cosmetics firm Amorepacific Corp. climbed 6.1 percent to 139,500 won, and refiner S-Oil Corp. was up 1.2 percent to 87,100 won.
The South Korean won ended at 1,292.60 won against the US dollar, up 7.30 won from Friday's close. (Yonhap)