South Korean shares ended slighter lower in choppy trading on Friday as foreign and institutional investors took profits amid lack of momentum following the wrap-up of the second-quarter earnings season.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 3. 26 points, or 0.17 percent, to close at 1,880.71. Trading volume stood at 276.67 million shares worth 3.47 trillion won (3.12 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI moved in a narrow range throughout the session before closing the trade slightly lower amid lack of momentum. Market watchers said investors sat on the sidelines following the end of the second-quarter earnings season.
Foreign and institutional investors sold shares worth 41.2 billion won and 3.1 billion won each, seeking to lock in recent profits. Retail investors bought a net 47.1 billion won worth of stocks, limiting the KOSPI's further decline.
Concerns remained over an early exit of U.S. quantitative easing. Some U.S. Federal Reserve officials recently made hawkish remarks, indicating that the Fed's initial tapering of its bond purchases may be launched within this year.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics rose 1.1 percent, and memory chip giant SK Hynix gained 1.7 percent. LG Electronics, the world's third-biggest smartphone maker, advanced 2.8 percent on expectations for its newly-launched smartphone G2.
Auto shares closed bearish. Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 1.6 percent, and its affiliate Kia Motors slid 1.3 percent. The nation's biggest life insurer Samsung Life Insurance dipped 1 percent, and leading chemical firm LG Chem lost 0.5 percent.
The South Koran currency finished at 1,112.2 won against the greenback, up 0.8 won from Thursday's close.
Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes lost 0.01 percentage point to 2.91 percent, but the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds closed steady at 3.58 percent.