South Korean shares ended lower Tuesday, after swinging between gains and losses, as investors refrained from taking active positions ahead of the year-end nearing.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 4. 1 points, or 0.21 percent, to 1,939.02 at the close. Trading volume stood at 295.3 million shares worth 3.6 trillion won (3.27 billion U.S. dollars).
Stocks in Europe and the United Sates rallied overnight on expectations for so-called "Santa Rally" and year-end shopping season, which would turn balance sheet of retailers from "red" to "black."
Despite the positive movement, the local stock market fluctuated in a narrow range and ended in negative terrain as investors refrained from further "buy" positions on stocks amid the nearing year-end.
Foreign and retail investors sold stocks worth 170 billion won and 118.8 billion won respectively, but institutional investors purchased shares worth 172.6 billion won.
Among large-cap shares, decliners outnumbered gainers. Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 2.6 percent, and memory chip giant SK Hynix slid 1.7 percent. The biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 1.7 percent, and market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.5 percent.
Top steelmaker POSCO declined 1 percent, but the No.1 mobile operator SK Telecom climbed 1.1 percent. The biggest non-life insurer Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance advanced 2.4 percent, and the No.2 carmaker Kia Motors rose 1.1 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,102.7 won against the greenback, down 6.5 won from Monday's close.
Bond prices ended mixed. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes closed unchanged at 2.156 percent, but the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds added 0.5 basis points to 2.671 percent.