South Korean shares closed two percent lower on Friday as investors offloaded stocks amid lingering concerns over Europe's debt crisis, analysts said.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 37.5 points, or two percent, to close at 1,839.17. Trading volume stood at 327.94 million shares worth 4.71 trillion won (4.14 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started lower, and stayed in negative terrain throughout the session on worries that the European fiscal crisis may continue to worsen down the road.
Spain issued government bonds with 10 year maturity overnight, but the 10-year yield rose above 7 percent at one time during the trading. The 7 percent threshold was regarded as the dangerous level as Greece, Ireland and Portugal sought bailout funds from outside. Italy's borrowing costs, which breached the dangerous mark, boosted concerns over the contagion risk of the fiscal crisis to the euro-region's No. 3 economy recently.
The spread on the France's 10-year government bond yield widened to 200 basis points against the corresponding yield of Germany, raising worries that France may be in trouble with their funding in the market.
Market watchers said that concerns over the Europe's debt crisis did not disappear, saying that the remaining concerns dented market sentiment.
Foreign investors led the market decline, selling a net 416.1 billion won worth of local shares. Local institutions offloaded a net 169 billion won worth of shares, pulling down the KOSPI, but retail investors limited further drops, buying a net 625 billion won worth of stocks. Program-linked transactions posted a net selling worth 662.3 billion won after arbitrage traders sold posts instead of buying futures.
Large-cap shares ended bullish amid weaker market sentiment. Leading chemical firm LG Chem plunged by 5.49 percent, and top oil refiner SK Innovation slid nearly 4 percent. The nation's No. 3 oil refinery S-Oil fell 2.95 percent.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slid 1.73 percent, but its local rival LG Electronics and memory chip giant Hynix Semiconductor rose 2.44 percent and 0.43 percent respectively, shoring up tech shares' gain.
The local currency finished at 1,138.9 won against the greenback, down 8.2 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.01 percentage point to 3.36 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds lost 0.01 percentage point to 3.5 percent.