Stocks drop for a third day as interest rate worries persist
Stocks retreated for a third straight session Thursday, as investors worried that the fast recovery from the pandemic is spurring inflation pressure. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi fell 15.04 points, or 0.51 percent, to close at 2,947.38 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 533 million shares worth some 9.9 trillion won ($8.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 608 to 256.
Foreigners sold a net 48 billion won and institutions offloaded 197 billion won, while retail investors bought 222 billion won.
The key stock index got off to a weak start, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street, with tech and chemical shares weighing on the market.
Local stocks declined as recent estimate-beating economic data in the United States and China fanned concerns that the Federal Reserve may hasten its timeline for raising its key interest rate to vent pressure from the rising inflation rate.
"[The Kospi] seems to be fluctuating along with the foreign investors' trading, since inflation risks are still lingering on the market," said Mirae Asset Securities analyst Park Gwang-nam.
Trading hours were delayed by an hour due to the College Scholastic Ability Test.
Samsung Electronics decreased 0.71 percent to 70,200 won, and chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.45 percent to 110,000 won.
Naver gained 1.5 percent to 407,000 won, and Kakao slipped 0.4 percent to 124,500 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics declined 1.06 percent, while LG Chem added 0.91 percent to 776,000 won.
Hyundai Motor moved down 0.97 percent to 205,000 won, with its sister company Kia shedding 1.07 percent to 83,100 won.
Kakao Bank advanced 2.22 percent to 64,500 won and game publisher NCSoft jumped 4.83 percent to 760,000 won.
The Kosdaq gained 1.51 points, or 0.15 percent, to close at 1,032.77.
The local currency closed at 1,180.4 won against the dollar, down 2.1 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 2.2 basis points to 1.953 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond fell 5.2 basis points to 1.58 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]