Kospi sags as post-Covid inflation worries rebound
Stocks retreated Monday after choppy trading as rising bond yields continued to stoke concerns of earlier-than-expected post-pandemic inflation. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 8.68 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 3,045.71 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 12.4 trillion won ($10.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 564 to 293.
Foreigners sold a net 215 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 522 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 316 billion won.
Stocks traded choppy in a tight 3,036-3,065 band ahead of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, as investors raised hopes for a slowdown in bond yields. The FOMC meeting is to be held Tuesday and Wednesday.
"Investors are in their wait-and-see mode before the FOMC," said DS Investment & Securities researcher Na Jung-hwan.
"They are not expecting a major policy intervention from the Fed, but may interpret [the Fed's] forecast or change of data as a tapering signal," he said.
Autos and steel performed well in Seoul, while tech slumped.
Samsung Electronics lost 1.21 percent to 81,800 won, and chipmaker SK hynix moved down 2.5 percent to 136,500 won.
Giant internet portal operator Naver gained 0.66 percent to 383,000 won, but its rival Kakao retreated 0.42 percent to 479,000 won.
Online game maker NCSoft declined 0.53 percent to 930,000 won, while its rival Netmarble fell 1.63 percent to 120,500 won.
Pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics declined 1.08 percent to 735,000 won, and Celltrion shed 2.69 percent to 289,000 won. Steelmaker Posco gained 2.33 percent to 308,000 won.
The country's largest Hyundai Motor decreased 0.22 percent to 232,000 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia jumped 3.62 percent to 85,800 won. Chemical firm LG Chem advanced 2.33 percent to 966,000 won.
The Kosdaq rose 1.41 points, or 0.15 percent to close at 926.90.
The local currency closed at 1,136.3 won against the dollar, up 2.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on the three-year bond gained 2.5 basis points to close at 1.247 percent, and the yield on the 10-year bond added 9.1 basis points to close at 1.62 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]