SEOUL, Aug. 11 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean stocks ended lower Friday as foreign investors sold local stocks amid escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 39.76 points, or 1.69 percent, to 2,319.71.
Foreign investors offloaded shares worth more than 648 billion won (US$566 million), while institutions scooped up more than 678 billion won.
Ryu Yong-seok, a market analyst at KB Securities Co., said tensions between North Korea and the United States are partly to blame for the decline in the main index.
U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Thursday that he will respond forcefully to any North Korean attack on the U.S. or its allies.
His comments came in response to North Korea’s threat to fire ballistic missiles toward the U.S. territory of Guam, which is home to U.S. strategic bombers, a naval station and other strategic assets.
Most large-cap stocks fell across the board.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics Co. backtracked 2.79 percent to 2,231,000 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix Inc. was down 4.66 percent to 61,400 won. Top automaker Hyundai Motor fell 2.07 percent to 142,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,143.50 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.50 won from the previous session’s close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 2.0 basis points to 1.804 percent and the return on benchmark five-year government bonds shed 2.0 basis points to 2.004 percent.