Stocks fall on fears of U.S.-China trade row
The Kospi slid 13.23 points, or 0.68 percent, to finish at 1,922.17. Trading volume was moderate at 783 million shares worth 9.5 trillion won ($7.75 billion), with losers far outpacing gainers 671 to 183.
U.S. President Donald Trump insisted that he was "not interested" in renewing trade negotiations with China. The world's top two economies are also major trading partners of Korea.
Investor sentiment was also dampened by the rising number of new Covid-19 cases in Korea.
Despite earlier signs of a slowdown, which allowed the country to lift its tough social distancing scheme, the number of virus patients has started to rebound since a cluster outbreak centered around several clubs in Seoul's Itaewon neighborhood.
Foreigners dumped a net 310 billion won, while individuals scooped up a net 606 billion won. Institutions sold more shares than they bought at 298 billion won.
In Seoul, most blue chips lost ground.
Samsung Electronics fell 1.03 percent to 47,900 won, and battery maker Samsung SDI moved down 1.05 percent to 284,000. Chipmaker SK hynix, on the other hand, rose 1.42 percent to 85,700 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem lost 2.45 percent to 338,000 won, and cosmetics maker Amorepacific moved down 1.99 percent to 172,000 won. Oil refiner SK Innovation decreased 2.15 percent to 95,400 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor decreased 1.92 percent to 91,900 won, and its auto parts arm Hyundai Mobis slid 1.45 percent. Kia Motors moved down 2.78 percent to 29,700 won.
Pharmaceutical firms, on the other hand, closed higher. Leading player Samsung BioLogics rose 1.02 percent to 592,000 won, and Celltrion rose 0.24 percent to 211,000 won.
The won closed at 1,224.80 won against the dollar, up 4.30 won from the previous session.
The secondary Kosdaq was down 0.83 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 684.21.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year bonds lost 3.6 basis points to 0.887 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond added 2.5 basis points to reach 0.71 percent.
BY KIM-YEONAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]
More in Finance
Financial system weak links stress-tested for dollar flood
Auto and tech stocks buoy bullish Kospi
Gov't to monitor market volatility as bond yield spread widens
Seoul stocks up 2 percent on expectations of improved earnings
Short-selling news just a big misunderstanding, FSC says