Kospi hits midday high, closes down on profit-taking
Korean shares dropped more than 1.5 percent Monday after hitting an all-time high the previous session as investors attempted to cash in gains. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 42.11 points, or 1.6 percent, to close at 2,591.34.
Trading volume was high at about 1.28 billion shares worth some 20.4 trillion won ($18.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 511 to 331.
Foreigners sold a net 2.4 trillion won worth of local stocks, the largest amount on record, while retail investors picked up a record-high amount of 2.2 trillion won. Institutions purchased a net 202 billion won.
After briefly touching a new all-time high of 2,648.55 points at one point, the benchmark index turned lower on foreign investors' profit-taking ahead of Morgan Stanley Capital International weighting changes.
"Foreigners had bought a net 7 trillion won of local stocks this month, and with the Kospi up 16 percent over the same period, investors are locking in gains," said Seo Jung-hoon, an analyst at Samsung Securities.
Most large caps in Seoul ended lower.
Samsung Electronics lost 2.2 percent to 66,700 won, and chipmaker SK hynix shed 1.32 percent to 97,500 won.
Internet portal Naver declined 2.46 percent to 277,500 won, with its rival Kakao dipping 1.34 percent to 368,000 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem fell 1.23 percent to 800,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 3.27 percent to 533,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics fell 1.63 percent to 786,000 won, while Celltrion climbed 1.8 percent to 340,000 won.
Hyundai Motor inched up 0.28 percent to 181,500 won.
The Kosdaq rose 0.55 points, or 0.06 percent, to close at 886.11.
The local currency closed at 1,106.5 won per dollar, up 3.3 won from the previous session's close, when it reached a 29-month high.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The three-year bond gained 0.4 basis points to 0.984 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond lost 4.0 basis points to close at 0.84 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]