South Korean shares ended in negative territory for two straight sessions on Friday as downbeat corporate earnings, especially automakers, weighed down on market sentiment.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slid 7. 03 points, or 0.36 percent, to close at 1,940.56. Trading volume stood at 275.12 million shares worth 4.3 trillion won (3.98 billion U.S. dollars).
Auto shares led the market decline as the country's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors announced downbeat earnings caused by negative currency impact amid the South Korean won's appreciation to major currencies, especially the Japanese yen.
Kia's revenue inched up 0.8 percent from a year earlier to 47.6 trillion won in 2013 thanks to solid overseas auto sales, but its operating profit reduced 9.8 percent to 3.18 trillion won amid the strong South Korean won.
The South Korean currency surged 23.6 percent against the Japanese yen in 2013, the highest in 15 years. The won gained 1.4 percent versus the U.S. dollar, the fourth-highest gain among G20 currencies.
Hyundai Motor recorded the first decline in its operating profit in three years in 2013, with the profit falling 1.5 percent to 8.32 trillion won. The revenue increased 3.4 percent last year due to brisk overseas car sales.
Hyundai Motor shares lost 1.7 percent, and Kia declined 1.7 percent. Leading chemical firm LG Chem retreated 1.3 percent, and top wireless carrier SK Telecom dipped 0.5 percent.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 0.3 percent after announcing its record earnings. Samsung's fourth-quarter operating profit sank 18 percent from three months earlier due to a one-off factor such as the payout of special bonuses, but its full year 2013 profit reached a new record high.
Other large-cap shares ended mixed. Memory chip giant SK Hynix rose 1.1 percent, but the nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 0.2 percent. The world's largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries declined 2.8 percent, and the nation's biggest web search engine NAVER dropped 3.4 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,080.4 won against the greenback, down 6.5 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes sank 0.04 percentage point to 2.86 percent and the return on the benchmark 5-year government bonds lost 0.05 percentage point to 3.21 percent.