SEOUL, July 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed 0.57 percent lower Monday as investors took a wait-and-see approach ahead of the policy-setting meeting of the United States Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) slated for this week, analysts said. The local currency rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 10.92 points to close at 1,899.89. Trading volume was moderate at 331.6 million shares worth 4.08 trillion won (US$3.67 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 588 to 220.
Analysts said Seoul shares lost ground as investor sentiment shrank ahead of the FOMC two-day meeting to be held from Tuesday (local time) and the release of economic data including South Korea's July export figures this week.
"Investors are also taking a wait-and-see approach whether listed firms' second-quarter earnings and other economic data will meet the market outlook," said Kim Sun-young, a researcher at IBK Investment & Securities Co.
Foreigners scooped up more shares than they sold at a net 74.8 billion won and individual investors also bought a net 56.2 billion won. In contrast, institutions offloaded a net 133.4 billion won.
NHN, South Korea's top Internet portal service provider, fell 2.49 percent to 293,500 won on the company's plan to split its game and entertainment business next month.
Tech shares traded bearish, with Samsung Electronics falling 1.53 percent to 1,283,000 won and top chipmaker SK hynix losing 4.09 percent to 27,000 won.
In contrast, carmakers closed higher, with No. 1 Hyundai Motor adding 2 percent to 230,000 won and its smaller affiliate Kia Motors increasing 0.16 percent to 61,300 won. Top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis gained 1.14 percent to 265,500 won.
Mobile carriers also gathered ground, with leading SK Telecom adding 2.04 percent to 225,000 won and KT climbing 0.83 percent to 36,400 won.
LG Uplus, the No. 3 mobile carrier, gained 5.18 percent to 13,200 won after the firm said Monday it swung to the black in the second quarter from a year earlier due mainly to increased profit from its wireless service.
The local currency ended at 1,110.50 won against the greenback, up 0.60 won from Friday's close on the outlook that the U.S. may keep its quantitative easing moves down the road, dealers said.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasuries shed 0.04 percentage point to 2.90 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds also lost 0.04 percentage point to 3.17 percent.