South Korean stocks finished slightly lower Wednesday as investors remained cautious ahead of the central bank's rate-setting meeting this week. The local currency gained ground against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index declined 1.95 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 2,519.81.
Trading volume was moderate at 571.6 million shares worth 9.27 trillion won ($7.19 billion), with losers beating winners 598 to 272.
Institutions sold a net 140.9 billion won worth of local shares to lead the bearish mode, while foreign investors scooped up a net 72.9 billion won and individuals purchased 70.5 billion won.
Experts noted that investors delayed their bet until the Bank of Korea's decision on the key rate and the US personal consumption expenditure inflation data for October, both of which are slated for Thursday.
"The local stocks were affected by a wait-and-see atmosphere before the BOK's meeting and the US inflation data," Choi Yoo-jun, an analyst from Shinhan Securities.
Major shares finished in mixed territory.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics remained unchanged at 72,700 won, and home appliance maker LG Electronics retreated 1.05 percent to 103,400 won.
Bank shares closed weaker as Hana Financial Group decreased 0.84 percent to 41,250 won, and KB Financial Group slid 1.34 percent to 51700 won.
Game publishers also went south, with NCSOFT losing 0.57 percent to 263,500 won and Netmarble dropping 1.51 percent to 58,900 won.
But battery makers were strong, with LG Energy Solution adding 2.76 percent to 447,000 won and POSCO Future M vaulting 7.55 percent to 327,500 won.
The local currency ended at 1,289.6 won against the greenback, up 4.1 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)