South Korean shares fell on Friday, trimming earlier gains, as investors offloaded stocks after Samsung Electronics' second-quarter earnings missed market consensus.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 5. 83 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 1,833.31. Trading volume stood at 280.76 million shares worth 3.72 trillion won (3.26 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI stayed in positive territory earlier as European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi hinted at the persistent stimulus stance overnight. Key interest rates in Europe will remain at their current levels or lower for as long as necessary, Draghi said after the central bank freezing its policy rate at 0.5 percent.
Stocks, however, pared initial gains, turning downward after Samsung's earnings missed expectations. Samsung's second-quarter operating profit reached a fresh quarterly high of 9.5 trillion won (8.4 billion U.S. dollars), topping the prior high of 8.84 trillion won in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The results, however, missed market consensus of around 10 trillion won, triggering massive sell-off by foreigners of tech shares. Samsung shares dropped 3.8 percent to close at 1,267,000 won, falling below the 1.3 million won level in seven trading days.
Foreign investors kept their selling spree for three straight sessions by offloading shares worth around 150 billion won. Foreigners dumped tech shares valued at 125.7 billion won.
Local institutions sold stocks worth 97.7 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 240.5 billion won worth of shares, limiting the KOSPI's further decline.
Memory chip giant SK Hynix slid 1.2 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.2 percent. The nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis fell 0.9 percent, and top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance declined 1.9 percent.
The No.2 carmaker Kia Motors advanced 2 percent, and top mobile operator SK Telecom climbed 3.3 percent. The state-run power supplier Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) jumped 2.8 percent.
The local currency finished at 1,142.3 won against the greenback, down 2.9 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.02 percentage point to 2.95 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds added 0.04 percentage point to 3.50 percent.