Seoul stocks dip for a second day as investors remain wary
Korean stocks closed lower for a second straight session Tuesday as institutional and foreign investors cashed in amid concerns of an overheated market. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi dropped 22.5 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 3,125.95 points, falling for the second consecutive session.
Trading volume was high at about 1.37 billion shares worth around 31.1 trillion won ($28.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 435 to 408.
Institutions offloaded a net 1.72 trillion won, and foreigners dumped a net 619.3 billion won. Retail investors picked up a net 2.31 trillion won.
The main index opened on a weak note, tumbling to as low as 3,047.56 points before trimming its losses later in the afternoon.
Analysts said investors took a breather as they remained cautious of an overheated Kospi after it continued to hit fresh record highs last week.
"The broader investor sentiment is subdued with a strong tendency toward profit-taking," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, added that the selling spree by institutions that bought local stocks for the year-end dividends last year will likely continue until the option expiration day Thursday.
Most large caps in Seoul ended lower.
Samsung Electronics retreated 0.44 percent to 90,600 won, and SK hynix fell 3.01 percent to 129,000 won.
Hyundai Motor declined 2.43 percent to 261,000 won after three consecutive sessions of advances on reports that it may cooperate with Apple over autonomous electric cars.
LG Chem tumbled 3.61 percent to 962,000 won, while Samsung SDI gained 2.05 percent to 745,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics moved down 3.31 percent to 818,000 won, while Celltrion rose 2.67 percent to 384,000 won.
Internet portal Naver slipped 1.62 percent to 304,000 won, while its rival Kakao added 0.99 percent to 457,500 won.
The Kosdaq lost 2.91 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 973.72.
The local currency closed at 1,099.9 won against the dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The return on the three-year bond gained 0.6 basis points to close at 0.976 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond added 2.4 basis points to close at 1.14 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [email@example.com]