Two-day winning streak gives way to losses Thursday
Stocks snapped their two-day winning streak Thursday as investor sentiment weakened over concerns of increasing U.S. Treasury yields. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi declined 39.5 points, or 1.28 percent, to close at 3,043.49 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.3 billion shares worth some 16.8 trillion won ($14.9 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 505 to 358.
Foreigners sold a net 930 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 2.2 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 1.3 trillion won.
Foreign and institutional sell-offs increased as yields of the U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury approached the 1.5 percent threshold again.
The increase in bond yields is widely seen as a sign of an economic recovery and a precursor of inflation, which could reduce investors' rush for risky assets.
"The increase in U.S. Treasury yields added [downward] pressure on the local stock market, leading to massive selling by foreign and institutional investors," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young.
Steel and bank stocks fared well on speculation of a faster-than-expected recovery from the pandemic, while tech and auto heavyweights lost.
In Seoul, most large caps closed lower.
Samsung Electronics lost 1.9 percent to 82,400 won, and chipmaker SK hynix shed 3.4 percent to 142,000 won.
Giant internet portal operator Naver fell 2 percent to 391,500 won, with its rival Kakao moving down 2.33 percent to 482,000 won.
Online game maker NCSoft lost 0.21 percent to 960,000 won, while its rival Netmarble fell 1.19 percent to 125,000 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics decreased 1.71 percent to 748,000 won, but its rival Celltrion advanced 1.16 percent to 306,500 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem retreated 0.57 percent to 865,000 won, and the country's largest automaker Hyundai Motor went down 2.08 percent to 235,000 won.
The Kosdaq declined 4.6 points, or 0.49 percent to close at 926.60.
The local currency closed at 1,125.1 won against the dollar, up 4.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on the three-year bond added 1.2 basis points to close at 1.03 percent, and the yield on the 10-year bond gained 8 basis points to close at 1.48 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]