South Korean shares fell on Monday, the first decline in six trading days, as foreigners offloaded domestic stocks ahead of major announcements this week.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 8. 9 points, or 0.44 percent, to close at 1,995.99. Trading volume stood at 264.57 million shares worth 2.58 trillion won (2.32 billion U.S. dollars).
The trading volume was the lowest in six years as investors took to the sidelines ahead of the announcements scheduled for this week such as the government plans to stimulate the real estate market, the preliminary first-quarter earnings from Samsung Electronics and the Bank of Japan (BOJ)'s monetary policy meeting.
Foreign funds reduced their holdings of stocks by 58.7 billion won after increasing shares in the prior session. Local institutions were net sellers during the trading before turning to net buyers in the last minutes of the session. Retail investors bought a net 54.8 billion won worth of shares, limiting the KOSPI' s further fall.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 1 percent, the first decline in three sessions, amid uncertainties for the first- quarter earnings result. Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.9 percent due to rising speculation for the deepening of the weak yen trend ahead of the BOJ's monetary policy meeting on Thursday.
The nation's No.2 carmaker Kia Motors lost 0.9 percent, and the nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis declined 0.5 percent. Top life insurer Samsung Life insurance fell 1.4 percent on mounting expectations over the reduction in dividends.
The local currency finished at 1,114.8 won against the greenback, down 3.7 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 0.03 percentage point to 2.49 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds lost 0.01 percentage point to 2.57 percent.