Kospi slumps as tapering fears return
Stocks retreated Monday as the U.S. Federal Reserve's hawkish tone last week increased worries about an early tapering of its accommodative monetary policies. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi slumped 27.14 points, or 0.83 percent, to close at 3,240.79 points after dipping as low as 3,225.56 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.5 billion shares worth some 17.1 trillion won ($15.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 725 to 166.
Foreigners sold a net 902 billion won, while retail investors bought 2 trillion won. Institutions offloaded a net 1.1 trillion won.
Stocks got off to a lackluster start in the wake of the Fed's ongoing discussions about advancing its rate hike timeline.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said inflation risks may warrant higher interest rates by 2022, a year sooner than his colleagues' projections.
"Bullard's remark blasted market fears about early tapering," Kiwoom Securities analyst Kim Yu-mi said.
On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to testify at the House hearing.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics dropped 0.75 percent to 79,900 won, and chipmaker SK hynix retreated 2.01 percent to 122,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver edged down 0.25 percent to 397,000 won, and its rival Kakao remained unchanged at 155,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics increased 2.15 percent to 854,000 won, and Celltrion added 3.89 percent to 280,500 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor decreased 0.85 percent to 233,000 won, and its sister company Kia fell 1.24 percent to 87,400 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem closed unchanged at 822,000 won. Rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI advanced 1.04 percent to 681,000 won.
Online game maker NCSoft edged up 0.24 percent, and Netmarble remained unchanged at 134,500 won.
The Kosdaq lost 4.89 points, or 0.48 percent, to close at 1,010.99.
The local currency closed at 1,134.7 won against the dollar, up 2.4 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds rose 3.8 basis points to 1.351 percent, while the return on the benchmark 10-year government bond fell 7.1 basis points to 1.44 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]