South Korean shares fell on Monday as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting this week.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 6. 14 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 1,883.10. Trading volume stood at 258.66 million shares worth 3.19 trillion won (2.83 billion U.S. dollars).
Investors delayed taking aggressive positions as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was expected to talk about the exit strategy from quantitative easing at the FOMC meeting scheduled for this week.
South Korea's monetary and economic policymakers picked the earlier-than-expected tapering off of the U.S. bond purchasing program as one of major external uncertainties facing the South Korean economy, according to the reports submitted Monday to parliament.
U.S. stocks ended bearish last weekend on downbeat economic indicators, including the worsening of consumer confidence and the widening current account deficit.
Foreign investors maintained their selling spree for seven straight sessions with sales of stocks worth 64.2 billion won. Retail investors offloaded shares worth 62.6 billion won, while local institutions bought a net 132.9 billion won worth of stocks.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 0.2 percent, but the nation's No. 2 carmaker Kia Motors rose 0.2 percent. Top mobile operator SK Telecom and the nation's No. 1 life insurer Samsung Life Insurance jumped 4 percent and 3.3 percent each, while memory chip giant SK Hynix declined 3.3 percent.
The local currency finished at 1,126.2 won against the greenback, up 0.3 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes jumped 0.05 percentage point to 2.81 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds increased 0. 08 percentage point to 3.27 percent.