Stocks drop for a second day on inflation concerns
Stocks retreated for second straight day on Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the release of U.S. consumer price data that may give more clues about the Federal Reserve's next move. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi declined 31.65 points, or 0.97 percent, to close at 3,216.18 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.9 billion shares worth some 16.9 trillion won ($15.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 571 to 287.
Foreigners sold a net 325 billion won, while retail investors bought 788 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 459 billion won.
The key stock index slumped on a slew of data pointing to potentially higher inflation down the road.
The Bank of Korea said that Korea's economy grew 1.7 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier, 0.1 percentage points higher than earlier expected.
China's producer price index in May exceeded the consensus amid rising commodity prices, adding to the global price pressures, although consumer prices grew slower than expected.
"Investors seem to be waiting for tomorrow's release of the May consumer price index and for the FOMC meeting next week," Shinhan Financial analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.
Most large caps retreated in Seoul, led by losses of bio, steel and tech shares.
Samsung Electronics shed 0.98 percent to 81,100 won, and chipmaker SK hynix dipped 3.92 percent to 122,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver moved down 1.1 percent to 358,500 won, and Kakao gained 0.39 percent to 129,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 2.46 percent to 834,000 won, and Celltrion lost 2.79 percent to 261,500 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor lost 1.64 percent to 239,500 won, and chemical firm LG Chem decreased 0.74 percent to 802,000 won. Steelmaker Posco lost 2.2 percent to 333,500 won.
The Kosdaq lost 7.33 points, or 0.74 percent, to close at 978.79.
The local currency closed at 1,115.4 won against the dollar, up 1.2 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 3.7 basis points to 1.137 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 3.0 basis points to 1.54 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [email@example.com]