South Korean stocks snapped a four-day rally to end slightly lower Wednesday as foreign and institutional investors offloaded large-cap stocks amid a lack of upside momentum. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 16.46 points, or 0.90 percent, to 1,807.14.
Foreign and institutional investors sold a combined 422.2 billion won ($346 million) worth of stocks, weighing down the bourse. Foreigners continued to offload local stocks for the 25th consecutive session through Wednesday.
Huh Jae-hwan, a strategist at Eugene Investment Co., said there seems to be no strong upside momentum that will stabilize the KOSPI index at above 1,800.
He also said the spread of the coronavirus poses a potential threat to the stock market.
China has lifted restrictions on movement on people in the central city of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 was first reported in late December.
In South Korea, the coronavirus has killed 200 people, mostly elderly patients with underlying illnesses. Its virus cases topped 10,000.
Market heavyweights closed mixed.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. fell 2.02 percent to 48,600 won, No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was down 1.52 percent to 84,500 won, and top carmaker Hyundai Motor Co. shed 0.44 percent to 90,000 won.
Among gainers, top chemical firm LG Chem rose 1.29 percent to 313,000 won, and leading wireless services provider SK Telecom Co. was up 1.84 percent to 194,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,220.90 won against the US dollar, up 0.30 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)