Kospi falls for third straight day on inflation worries
Stocks retreated for a third straight session Thursday as concerns over earlier-than-expected post-pandemic inflation sapped investor confidence. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 39.55 points, or 1.25 percent, to close at 3,122.11 points.
Trading volume was high at about 1.1 billion shares worth some 20.7 trillion won ($18.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 642 to 234.
Foreigners sold a net 1.4 trillion won, while retail investors purchased 1.4 trillion won. Institutions bought a net 8 billion won.
The Kospi got off to a weak start as the U.S. stock market suffered an extended tech plunge.
Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 2.67 percent as U.S. consumer prices expanded in April by the most since 2009, increasing investor worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering may come sooner than expected. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 retreated 1.99 percent and 2.14 percent, respectively.
"The hike in the U.S. consumer prices index for April stoked inflation concerns, driving foreigners to sell off local stocks," Shinhan Investment Corp. analyst Shim Won-yong said.
In Seoul, chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.67 percent to reach 117,500 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem declined 1.51 percent to 850,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI dipped 4.9 percent to 602,000 won.
Internet portal Naver decreased 1.6 percent to 337,500 won, and its rival Kakao fell 3.10 percent to 109,500 won.
Pharmaceutical company Samsung Biologics gained 1.17 percent to 866,000 won, and Celltrion added 0.95 percent to 265,000 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor increased 0.88 percent to 229,500 won, and its sister company Kia fell 1.56 percent to 81,800 won.
Online game maker NCSoft lost 0.71 percent to 841,000 won, while its rival Netmarble edged up 0.78 percent to 128,500 won.
The Kosdaq lost 15.33 points, or 1.59 percent, to close at 951.77.
The local currency closed at 1,129.3 won to the dollar, up 4.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds rose 0.3 basis point to 1.123 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond added 2.6 basis points to 1.651 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]