Seoul shares end lower over U.S. plunges, Fed’s meeting in focus

South Korean stocks ended their two-day winning streak on Monday as investors' concerns grew over a sharp dip on Wall Street last week and the Fed's aggressive tightening. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) lost 7.6 points, or 0.28 percent, to close at 2,687.45 points.

Trading volume was moderate at about 860 million shares worth some 9 trillion won (US$7.1 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 426 to 413.

Institutions sold a net 181 billion won and foreigners offloaded 68 billion won, while retail investors bought 225 billion won.

After a weak opening, stocks traded lower as investors brace for the Fed's FOMC meeting whose outcomes are slated to be announced Wednesday (U.S. time).

On Friday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq tumbled 4.17 percent on investors' fears about the tightening U.S. monetary policies and the virus lockdown in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dipped 2.77 percent and 3.63 percent, respectively.

China expanded lockdowns amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, increasing concerns about difficulties in global supply chains.

"China's antivirus lockdown in Shanghai and the (U.S.) FOMC meeting results seem to have weighed on the KOSPI's performance," Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Huh Jae-hwan said. "The slowing growth in exports and increasing trade deficit may have added to woes, but their impacts are limited," he added.

The KOSPI pared part of its earlier losses in the afternoon amid strong individual buying.

Techs and financials led the KOSPI's retreat, while chemicals performed better.

Market behemoth Samsung Electronics lost 0.15 percent to 67,300 won, and top battery maker LG Energy Solution retreated 2.04 percent to 408,500 won. Chip giant SK hynix declined 1.78 percent to 110,500 won.

Internet portal operator Naver shed 1.92 percent to 281,000 won, and pharmaceutical giant Samsung Biologics closed unchanged at 838,000 won.

The local currency closed at 1,265.1 won against the U.S. dollar, down 9.2 won from the previous session.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed steeply lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys jumped 12.8 basis points to 3.086 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond surged 13.9 basis points to 3.311 percent.

Source: Yonhap News Agency