Stocks fall for a second day ahead of key Fed meeting
Stocks retreated for a second straight session Monday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting later this week. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi lost 8.57 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 3,001.66 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 368 million shares worth some 8.5 trillion won ($7.2 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 495 to 347.
Foreigners sold a net 132 billion won, and retail investors offloaded 367 billion won, while institutions bought 469 billion won.
The Kospi traded strong in the morning, led by advances by tech and auto heavyweights.
But the key stock index turned south toward the session's end.
Investors kept a keen eye for the Federal Reserve's signals about the tapering of stimulus measures. The Fed is set to announce its two-day meeting results Wednesday.
"Stocks are likely to fluctuate without a specific direction until the results of the FOMC meeting are revealed," said Meritz Securities analyst Lee Jin-woo.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics edged down 0.13 percent to 76,800 won, while chipmaker SK hynix increased 0.83 percent to 121,500 won.
Internet portal operator Naver lost 1.14 percent to 390,500 won, and its rival Kakao decreased 2.04 percent to 120,000 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor moved up 0.72 percent to 209,000 won, with Kia adding 0.7 percent to 86,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics slumped 3.22 percent to 872,000 won, and Celltrion fell 1.44 percent to 205,000 won.
LG Electronics soared 6.35 percent to 134,000 won, and battery maker SK Innovation dropped 0.46 percent to 216,500 won. Steelmaker Posco rose 1.95 percent to 287,000 won.
The Kosdaq lost 5.61 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 1,005.96.
The local currency closed at 1,180.8 won against the dollar, down 0.5 percent from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 1.2 basis points to 1.794 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond fell 1.7 basis points to 1.48 percent.
BY LEE TAE-HEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]