South Korean stocks closed sharply lower for the third consecutive day Monday as investors' risk-off sentiment escalated amid geopolitical uncertainties and high US bond yields. The local currency fell against the US dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 17.98 points, or 0.76 percent, to close at 2,357.02.
Trading volume was slim at 387.7 million shares worth 6.9 trillion won ($5.1 billion), with decliners beating gainers 593 to 283.
"With no specific upward momentum in place, unfavorable circumstances for investors have been continuing, including geopolitical risk and pressure from bond yield levels," Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities Co., said, referring to an ongoing war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.
On Friday, all three major US indexes plunged as the yield on the 10-year Treasury almost hit the 5 percent mark amid high borrowing costs.
In Seoul, tech and financial stocks led the market decline.
Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, dropped 0.58 percent to 68,400 won, and SK hynix, the country's No. 2 chipmaker, retreated 1.74 percent.
Financial shares went south as the outstanding amount increased in the stock market.
KB Financial Group plunged more than 2.8 percent to 55,200 won, Shinhan Financial Group lost 2.36 percent to 35,100 won and Hana Financial Group slid 2.53 percent to 42,300 won.
IT stocks also ended in negative terrain.
Internet portal operator Naver went down more than 1 percent to 178,300 won and Kakao, the operator of the country's top mobile messenger, shot down 2.82 percent to 37,950 won in connection to the alleged involvement of the company's executives in a suspected stock manipulation case.
On the other hand, auto shares were strong, with Hyundai Motor up 1.04 percent to 185,400 won and its smaller affiliate Kia up 1.59 percent to 83,000 won.
Battery shares were mixed.
Industry leader LG Energy Solution was flat at 436,500 won, while Posco Future M gained 0.5 percent to 301,500 won. Samsung SDI lost 1.25 percent to 474,000 won.
The local currency ended at 1,353.70 won against the greenback, down 1.3 won from the previous session's close. (Yonhap)