South Korean stocks plunged by almost 2 percent on Thursday to slump for a second straight session amid recession woes and dim outlook for the chipmaking sector. The Korean won rose against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) retreated 45.35 points, or 1.91 percent, to close at 2,332.64 points.
Trading volume was moderate at about 506 million shares worth some 8.7 trillion won (US$6.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 699 to 183.
Institutional investors offloaded a net 321 billion won, and foreigners sold 234 billion won, while retail investors bought 521 billion won.
Investors remained cautious after a near 2 percent fall on Wednesday, spooked by soaring inflation and weak economic sentiment data in the United States.
Overnight, the central bank chiefs of major economies warned that the world's high inflation pressure may last longer than expected.
China's purchasing managers' index (PMI) for June expanded for the first time in four months but at a muted pace.
In Seoul, market behemoth Samsung Electronics lost 1.72 percent to 57,000 won, with No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix losing 3.19 percent to 91,000 won.
Battery giant LG Energy Solution declined 5.24 percent to 371,000 won, and internet portal operator Naver moved down 2.64 percent to 240,000 won.
Among gainers, top carmaker Hyundai Motor increased 2.85 percent to 180,500 won, and its smaller affiliate Kia grew 0.52 percent to 77,300 won.
The local currency closed at 1,298.4 won against the US dollar, up 0.6 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)