Stocks continue to decline ahead of Fed meeting results
Stocks continued to slide, closing at a one-year-plus low Wednesday, with investors eying the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting. The won rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi retreated 11.15 points, or 0.41 percent, to close at 2,709.24 points. The reading marks the lowest since the 2,700.93 point closing on Dec. 8, 2020.
Trading volume was moderate at about 466 million shares worth some 8.8 trillion won ($7.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 487 to 375.
Foreigners dumped a net 246 billion won worth of stocks, and institutions offloaded 16 billion won, while retail investors bought 226 billion won.
Stocks retreated for a fourth consecutive session amid lingering uncertainties about the Fed's two-day policy meeting.
Overnight, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite plunged 2.58 percent amid expectations of the Fed's hawkish signals.
The market consensus is that the Fed could make comments related to the first interest rate hike this year, widely expected in March.
The Kospi started off higher as investors sought to buy oversold stocks after the recent stock plunge. But the key stock index dipped to losses in the afternoon as the meeting results draw near.
The Fed's meeting results will be disclosed Wednesday in the United States before the opening of the local stock market.
"Stocks seem to have traded without clear direction. Investors are in wait-and-see mode," said Kiwoom Securities analyst Kim Sae-hun.
Samsung Electronics lost 0.95 percent to 73,300 won, and chipmaker SK hynix decreased 0.42 percent to 117,500 won.
Among gainers, chemical company LG Chem jumped 3.27 percent to 664,000 won, and financial firm KB Financial Group advanced 3.5 percent to 59,100 won.
The local currency closed at 1,197.7 won against the dollar, down 0.9 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq lost 7.35 points, or 0.83 percent, to close at 882.09.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds dropped 1.8 basis points to 2.156 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 0.5 basis point to 1.77 percent.
BY SHIN HA-NEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]