Stocks little changed as Delta variant remains a concern
Stocks closed nearly flat Monday, snapping a four-day winning streak amid increased valuation pressure and virus concerns, after the key stock index closed at an all-time high the previous session. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi inched down 0.95 points, or 0.03 percent, to close at 3,301.89 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.4 billion shares worth some 13.5 trillion won ($11.9 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 562 to 300.
Foreigners sold a net 75 billion won and institutions offloaded a net 301 billion won, while retail investors bought 381 billion won.
After a muted start, the Kospi traded in negative territory, falling through the 3,300-point mark.
Investors took to the sidelines to lock in profit after the stock index finished the previous session at an all-time high on hopes of a massive infrastructure package in the United States.
Spreading new coronavirus variants also weakened investor appetite for risky assets.
"The overall Asian stock markets [including the Korean Kospi] seem to have performed weak today over investors concerns about the rising Delta variant," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Samsung Electronics rose 0.38 percent to 81,900 won while chipmaker SK hynix lost 1.95 percent to 126,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver shed 0.49 percent to 408,000 won, while its rival Kakao rose 0.32 percent to 155,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 0.71 percent to 843,000 won, while Celltrion added 0.19 percent to 266,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.82 percent to 241,000 won, and its sister company Kia fell 1.32 percent to 89,500 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem declined 0.95 percent to 830,000 won, and Samsung SDI lost 1.31 percent to 679,000 won.
The Kosdaq gained 5.78 points, or 0.57 percent, to close at 1,017.91.
The local currency closed at 1,130.3 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 government bonds added 2.9 basis points to 1.47 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond added 3.5 basis points to 1.53 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org],YONHAP