Stocks sink as investors turn away from risky business
Stocks closed lower Thursday as investor sentiment turned against risk assets, following the U.S. tapering jitters that stemmed from the latest Federal Reserve minutes. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 10.77 points, or 0.34 percent, to close at 3,162.28 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 754 million shares worth some 13 trillion won ($11.5 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 516 to 346.
Foreigners sold a net 656 billion won, while retail investors purchased 858 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 201 billion won.
After a lackluster start, the Kospi continued to lose ground amid foreign and institutional selling.
Stocks fell tracking the decline in U.S. stocks that was largely caused by the Federal Reserve's minutes suggesting the possibility of an earlier-than-expected tapering amid signs of a fast economic recovery.
Overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.48 percent, with the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite decreasing 0.03 percent and 0.29 percent, respectively.
"Local stock prices fell after the Fed commented on the possibility of adjusting the pace of its asset-buying program for the first time in its April minutes," Shinhan Investment analyst Kim Da-mi said.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics edged down 0.13 percent to 79,500 won, while chipmaker SK hynix advanced 1.24 percent to 122,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver gained 0.43 percent to 351,000 won, and its rival Kakao edged up 0.44 percent to 113,500 won. Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics declined 0.34 percent to 891,000 won, and Celltrion lost 0.74 percent to 270,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem added 2.5 percent to 903,000 won, and steelmaker Posco dipped 5.32 percent to 365,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor lost 2.81 percent to 224,500 won, and its sister company Kia fell 3.25 percent to 80,300 won.
The Kosdaq gained 2.03 points, or 0.21 percent, to close at 971.13.
The local currency closed at 1,132 won against the dollar, up 1.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds added 0.4 basis point to 1.10 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond rose 3.5 basis points to 1.67 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [email@example.com]