South Korean shares fell for two trading days on Tuesday as foreigners turned into net sellers amid resurfacing concerns over an early exit of U.S. quantitative easing.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) declined 9.6 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,906.62. Trading volume stood at 291.38 million shares worth 3.45 trillion won (3.1 billion U.S. dollars).
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said overnight that with the U.S. jobless rate having come down to 7.4 percent, the Fed was now closer to "execution mode" of cutting asset purchases, noting that he wanted the cuts to begin this fall.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in June that the Fed would probably make cuts to the bond purchasing program later this year, with an eye to ending it by mid-2014, when unemployment will likely be around 7 percent.
Foreign investors sold a net 164.7 billion won worth of local stocks, turning into net sellers for the first time in 12 sessions. Local institutions and retail investors bought stocks worth 119.3 billion won and 46.7 billion won each, limiting the KOSPI's further decline.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics dipped 1.6 percent, falling for two sessions on negative news that the U.S. administration overturned an independent trade agency's ruling that Apple should be banned from selling some products.
Top steelmaker POSCO declined 1.1 percent, and leading chemical firm LG Chem slid 0.5 percent. The nation's No.1 wireless carrier SK Telecom retreated 2 percent, and the world's largest shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries shed 0.5 percent.
South Korean tech behemoth LG Electronics jumped 2.6 percent on hopes for the launch of its new smartphone G2. Top automaker Hyundai Motor rose 0.9 percent, and its affiliate Kia Motors gained 0.8 percent. Memory chip giant SK Hynix added 0.6 percent, and top life insurer Samsung Life Insurance advanced 0.5 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,115.5 won against the greenback, down 1.7 won from Monday's close.
Bond prices ended mixed. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes closed steady at 2.92 percent, but the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds added 0.01 percentage point to 3.52 percent.