Stocks drop as institutions and foreigners unload shares
Stocks retreated Wednesday, led by institutional selling. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 15.91 points, or 0.53 percent, to close at 3,013.13 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 668 million shares worth some 11 trillion won ($9.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 521 to 337.
Institutions sold a net 208 billion won, while retail investors bought 285 billion won. Foreigners offloaded a net 74 billion won.
The key stock index got off to a solid start on overnight gains on Wall Street but turned to losses amid institutional selling.
Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite added 0.71 percent to 15,129 points on hopes of strong corporate earnings, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.56 percent to 35,457 points.
"Investor expectations about the stock performance seem to have come under adjustment," said Bookook Securities analyst Lee Won.
Korea's new virus cases stayed below 2,000 for the 12th consecutive day Wednesday amid the rising rate of vaccinations.
As of Wednesday, 66.7 percent of Korea's 52 million people were fully vaccinated, and 78.9 percent had received a first shot.
Samsung Electronics shed 0.42 percent to 70,300 won, while chipmaker SK hynix climbed 0.2 percent to 97,900 won.
Naver closed flat at 407,500 won, and Kakao edged up 0.39 percent to 128,000 won. Kakao Bank fell 2.61 percent to 59,700 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor and closed unchanged at 209,000 won, and its sister company Kia dropped 0.59 percent to 83,800 won.
Steelmaker Posco lost 3.28 percent to 309,500 won, and LG Chem gained 1.08 percent to 840,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics added 0.81 percent to 875,000 won.
The Kosdaq fell 3.73 points, or 0.37 percent, to close at 1,001.62.
The local currency closed at 1,174.2 won against the dollar, down 4.5 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 2.3 basis points to 1.846 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 4.3 basis points to 1.63 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]