Inflation jitters end Kospi's two-day winning streak
Stocks edged down Wednesday, snapping a two-day winning streak as U.S. losses amid renewed inflationary pressure took its toll on investor sentiment. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi dropped 6.57 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 3,264.81 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 896 million shares worth some 12.8 trillion won ($11.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 514 to 334.
Foreigners sold a net 274 billion won worth of stocks and institutions offloaded a net 315 billion won, while retail investors bought a net 605 billion won.
Stocks got off to a weak start as an estimate-beating 0.9 percent on-year increase in U.S. consumer prices in June fanned market worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve may hasten the time frame for tapering its asset-buying program.
Overnight, the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.38 percent, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 down 0.31 percent and 0.35 percent, respectively.
"The [steep rise in U.S. June] CPI could be a temporary phase caused by price hikes in used car prices," Shinhan Investment analyst Choi Yoo-joon said.
Amid record-breaking virus cases, the market's loss was limited on news that the country added jobs for four straight months in June.
Large caps closed mixed in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics lost 0.38 percent to 79,500 won, but chipmaker SK hynix added 0.41 percent to 123,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver climbed 0.68 percent to 444,000 won, and its rival Kakao gained 0.62 percent to 162,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics slipped 0.12 percent to 864,000 won, and Celltrion lost 0.76 percent to 261,000 won.
Automaker Hyundai Motor closed unchanged at 230,000 won, and chemical firm LG Chem increased 0.48 percent to 844,000 won. Rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI rose 0.67 percent to 745,000 won.
The Kosdaq gained 1.67 points, or 0.16 percent, to close at 1,044.98.
The local currency closed at 1,148.5 won against the dollar, up 3.1 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 3.3 basis points to 1.391 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 5.7 basis points to 1.42 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE [firstname.lastname@example.org], YONHAP