Stocks decline as hopes for peace fade, rates weigh on mood
Stocks ended lower Monday, snapping a three-day winning streak, weighed down by uncertainty over the Ukraine-Russia conflict and worries about U.S. monetary policy. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi retreated 20.97 points, or 0.77 percent, to close at 2,686.05 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 495 million shares worth some 8.6 trillion won ($7.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 454 to 394.
Institutions sold a net 331 billion won and foreigners offloaded 487 billion won, while retail investors bought 798 billion won.
The market opened higher but soon turned south as investors took a wait-and-see attitude following a three-day gain that stemmed from hopes for progress in the Ukraine-Russia peace talks.
"Investors seem to be growing impatient as the Ukraine-Russia peace talks have not shown concrete results over the weekend," Kiwoom Securities analyst Kim Se-heon said.
"The hawkish stance of the U.S. Federal Reserve also seems to have increased short-term profit-taking among investors," he added.
Earlier, a high-ranking Fed official made hawkish remarks on borrowing costs, saying that it is necessary to raise the interest rate by 50 basis points at least once this year.
U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell, who had been backing multiple rate hikes to rein in mounting inflation pressure, is slated to speak on Monday in the United States.
Most large caps closed lower in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics lost 1.13 percent to 69,900 won, and chipmaker SK hynix retreated 1.61 percent 122,000 won.
Naver shed 1.6 percent to 339,000 won, with Kakao dipping 3.23 percent to 105,000 won.
Among gainers, Samsung Biologics edged up 0.12 percent to 829,000 won, and battery maker LG Energy Solution added 1.05 percent to 386,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,216.3 won against the dollar, up 8.7 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq declined 4.56 points, or 0.49 percent, to close at 918.40 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed mixed. The yield on three-year government bonds gained 3.7 basis points to 2.268 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond retreated 2.3 basis points to 2.15 percent.
BY YONHAP, SHIN HA-NEE [email@example.com]