South Korean stocks turned lower Wednesday morning as foreigners and individuals offloaded their holdings. The won traded higher against the dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index that started the day in positive territory surrendered 2.36 points, or 0.10 percent, to 2,423.68 as of 11:20 a.m.
Foreigners and individuals sold a combined 133 billion won ($118 million) worth of stocks. Institutions bought a net 126 billion won that kept the main index from falling further.
Tech and auto stocks were leading the decline, with market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. falling 0.79 percent and the country's No. 2 carmaker Kia Motors Corp. shedding 0.14 percent.
No. 2 tiremaker Kumho Tire Co. plunged 4.15 percent as the process to sell its controlling 42 percent stake to Qingdao Doublestar Co. is seen as having hit a snag.
Among advancers, airline and defensive stocks, such as utilities and cosmetics firms, led gains. National flag carrier Korean Air Lines Co. rose 1.77 percent, Korea Electric Power Corp. climbed 0.12 percent, and No. 1 cosmetics firm AmorePacific Corp. was up 2.20 percent.
The local currency was trading at 1,122.80 won against the US dollar, up 0.30 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)