Kospi sags as investors wait for Fed meeting in U.S.
Stocks dipped 1 percent on Wednesday as foreign investors offloaded local shares to cash in recent gains ahead of a U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 33.95 points, or 1.06 percent, to close at 3,181.47 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.4 billion shares worth some 18 trillion won ($16.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 699 to 193.
Foreigners sold a net 609 billion won, while retail investors purchased 1.1 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 429 billion won.
The Kospi got off to a weak start as investors took a wait-and-see approach, waiting for the results of the FOMC's meeting, which will come out later in the day.
"Foreigner investors seem to have sold local stocks over concerns that the Kospi’s steep gains this month could lead to high volatility in May, when the ban on short selling would be lifted," Bookook Securities analyst Lee Won said.
"The April FOMC meeting results also drove investors into their wait-and-see mode," he said.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics lost 0.97 percent to 82,100 won, and chipmaker SK hynix dipped 3.7 percent to 130,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver retreated 1.71 percent to 373,500 won, and its rival Kakao moved down 1.65 percent to 119,500 won.
Pharmaceutical company Samsung Biologics declined 1.98 percent to 791,000 won, and Celltrion lost 1.46 percent to 270,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem slipped 0.11 percent to 890,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI decreased 2.63 percent to 667,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor gained 0.68 percent to 221,500 won, while its sister company Kia lost 0.61 percent to 81,400 won.
Online game maker NCSoft dropped 2.68 percent to 835,000 won, and its rival Netmarble lost 3.65 percent to 132,000 won.
The Kosdaq lost 22.74 points, or 2.23 percent to close at 998.27.
The local currency closed at 1,113.0 won against the dollar, up 2.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 0.7 basis points to 1.104 percent, and the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond added 4.5 basis points to 1.61 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]