Seoul stocks snapped their five-day winning streak Monday, weighed by losses in major tech shares ahead of the US central bank's rate-decision meeting and exports data from Asia's fourth-largest economy. The Korean won rose to the highest in nine months against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index retreated 33.55 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 2,450.47 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 460 million shares worth some 8.7 trillion won ($7.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 644 to 233.
Institutions sold a net 412 billion won, leading the stock losses. Foreigners bought 17 billion won, and retail investors scooped up 460 billion won.
The KOSPI got off to a weak start and remained in the red throughout the session.
Investors took a breather as they have to digest key events this week, such as the US Federal Reserve's policy meeting, amid expectations of its milder policy tightening.
"Investors are bracing themselves for many crucial events, like the monetary meeting by the FOMC," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Han Ji-young.
In Seoul, market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 2.01 percent to 63,300 won, and smaller rival SK hynix fell 0.87 percent to 90,700 won.
Portal operator Naver dropped 2.13 percent to 207,000 won, and its rival Kakao decreased 1.85 percent to 63,500 won.
Top auto maker Hyundai Motor declined 2.24 percent to 170,000 won, and bio heavyweight Samsung Biologics slid 0.74 percent to 803,000 won.
Among gainers, battery giant LG Energy Solution added 0.79 percent to 510,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,227.4 won against the greenback, up 3.9 won from the previous session's close, the highest since April 15, 2022, when the corresponding figure was 1,229.6 won. (Yonhap)