South Korean stocks fell for a second day on Friday as investors were increasingly jittery about global economic growth and a possible government shutdown in the United States, analysts said. The South Korean won firmed against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index shed 1.37 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,061.49. Trading volume was slim at 304.92 million shares worth 5.38 trillion won ($4.79 billion), with losers beating winners 445 to 381.
Foreign investors remained on edge a day after the US Federal Reserve raised its key rate and projected a less dovish outlook on monetary policy than investors had expected.
The sentiment was further depressed on the possibility of a US government shutdown as President Donald Trump refused to sign a funding bill, demanding money for the border wall.
"Worries over slowing global economic growth continue to weigh on investor sentiment amid in uncertainties surrounding the US
government shutdown," Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, said. "The local market has a lack of growth momentum in the short term as investors remain more on guard than expected."
Foreigners and retailers dumped a net 226.08 billion won and 252.69 billion worth of stocks, respectively. Institutions bought a net 495.47 billion won to pare back losses, helping the index end only marginally lower.
Tech shares were mixed.
Market kingpin Samsung Electronics was steady at 38,650 won after hitting a yearly low, while chipmaker SK hynix gained 2.39 percent to 220,000 won.
Construction shares were down.
Hyundai Engineering & Construction sank 3 percent to 54,900 won, and GS Engineering & Construction skidded 2.58 percent to 45,250 won.
In contrast, chemical firms advanced on upbeat prospects for the rechargeable battery market.
LG Chem, the nation's largest chemical firm, rose a solid 4.22 percent to 358,500 won, and Samsung SDI, Samsung's battery-making unit, jumped 5.24 percent to 221,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,122.4 won against the US dollar, up 5.4 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, fell sharply. The yield on three-year Treasurys gained 3.8 points to 1.838 percent, and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds increased 5.1 basis points to 1.893 percent. (Yonhap)