Kospi sags on fears of inflation, interest rates
Stocks ended lower Monday, as investors worried about the U.S. central bank's aggressive monetary tightening and China's growth momentum amid high inflation. The won fell against the dollar.
The benchmark Kospi lost 7.29 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 2,693.10 points.
Trading volume was moderate at around 730.8 million shares worth some 8.7 trillion won ($7.1 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 438 to 399.
Foreigners sold stocks worth 135.4 billion won, while retail and institutional investors picked up shares worth 125.5 billion won and 2.7 billion won, respectively.
Investors have been wary of the Federal Reserve's warnings of faster-than-expected belt-tightening to curb inflation, which have stoked fears of slowing global economic growth.
High inflation in China is another source of concern.
Earlier in the day, China said its producer price index surged 8.3 percent on-year in March and the consumer price index grew 1.5 percent, both higher than expected.
"Uncertainties over inflation have continued both in the U.S. and Chinese markets. Investors appear to have taken a cautious stance also ahead of the Bank of Korea's rate-setting meeting this week and the full-fledged corporate earning season," NH Investment & Securities analyst Kim Young-hwan said.
Samsung Electronics inched up 0.15 percent to 67,900 won after a four-day losing streak, while chipmaker SK hynix lost 0.45 percent to 111,500 won.
LG Energy Solution sank 3.30 percent to 425,000 won, and Samsung SDI fell 2.66 percent to 585,000 won.
Hyundai Motor rose 1.70 percent to 179,500 won, and its affiliate Kia spiked 3.47 percent to 77,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,233.1 won against the dollar, up 8.0 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq dropped 12.90 points, or 1.38 percent, to close at 921.83 points.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year government bonds advanced 19.2 basis points to 3.177 percent, and the yield on the benchmark 10-year government bond gained 4.6 basis points to 2.70 percent.
BY SHIN HA-NEE, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]