Stocks drop 1.57 percent on inflation and war worries
Stocks closed sharply lower Monday, tracking a plunge on Wall Street last week amid heightening U.S.-Russia tensions over Moscow's potential invasion of Ukraine. The won sharply rose against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi decreased 43.23 points, or 1.57 percent, to close at 2,704.48 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 606 million shares worth some 11.3 trillion won ($9.4 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 787 to 117.
Retail investors sold a net 189 billion won, while foreigners bought 70 billion won and institutions purchased 95 billion won.
Most large caps deepened losses amid Russia's possible invasion of Ukraine.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite tumbled 2.78 percent Friday, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.43 percent.
Investors also fret over the possibilities that the U.S. Federal Reserve may accelerate rate hikes to reign in the price pressure.
"Investors are wondering whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will hold an emergency meeting," said HI Investment & Securities analyst Park Sang-hyun.
"Concerns about quick rate hikes and the Ukraine case kept local stocks from rebounding," Park said.
Samsung Electronics lost 1.6 percent to 73,700 won, and battery maker LG Energy Solution dropped 3.94 percent to 463,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver declined 1.68 percent to 322,000 won, and Kakao dropped 3.16 percent to 88,800 won.
Carmaker Hyundai Motor declined 3.55 percent to 176,500 won, and its affiliate Kia also shed 2.53 percent to 77,000 won.
Among gainers, chipmaker SK hynix added 0.38 percent to 132,500 won, and Samsung Biologics advanced 1.19 percent to 763,000 won as the country's new Covid-19 cases topped 50,000 for a fifth consecutive day.
The local currency closed at 1,191.1 won against the dollar, down 7.4 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq lost 24.63 points, or 2.81 percent, to close at 852.79 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year government bonds lost 0.1 basis point to 2.344 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond declined 9.3 basis points to 1.94 percent.
BY SHIN HA-NEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]