Stocks fall for a second day on Delta variant concerns
Stocks retreated for the second straight session Tuesday as concerns over new coronavirus variants weakened investor appetite for risky assets. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 15.21 points, or 0.46 percent, to close at 3,286.68 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 1.2 billion shares worth some 14.2 trillion won ($12.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 549 to 303.
Foreigners sold a net 553 billion won, and institutions offloaded a net 681 billion won, while retail investors bought 1.2 trillion won.
The Kospi got off to a muted start on travel bans related to the new Covid-19 variants in many parts of the world.
A retreat in steel, finance and tech led the Kospi's fall amid worries that the spreading Delta variant may derail the global economic reopening.
"Reports about the increasing Delta variant cases and travel curbs seem to have turned investors risk-averse, pulling down the stock prices in the overall Asian stock markets," Mirae Asset Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics retreated 1.1 percent to 81,000 won, and chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.79 percent to 125,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver added 0.86 percent to 411,500 won, and its rival Kakao gained 1.94 percent to 158,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics advanced 0.36 percent to 846,000 won, while Celltrion edged down 0.38 percent to 265,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.62 percent to 239,500 won, and its sister company Kia remained unchanged at 89,500 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem gained 1.08 percent to 839,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI added 1.03 percent to 686,000 won.
Online game maker NCSoft retreated 0.12 percent to 822,000 won, while Netmarble rose 2.30 percent to 133,500 won.
The Kosdaq gained 4.61 points, or 0.45 percent, to close at 1,022.52.
The local currency closed at 1,128.5 won against the dollar, down 1.8 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 1.1 basis points to 1.459 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond lost 4.9 basis points to 1.48 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org],YONHAP