South Korean shares fell on Wednesday as investors took a wait-and-see stance ahead of announcements of the country's gross domestic product and major companies' first-quarter earnings.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 3. 85 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,000.37. Trading volume stood at 231.74 million shares worth 3.82 trillion won (3.68 billion U.S. dollars).
The first-quarter GDP of South Korea will be unveiled on Thursday. It will show whether the economy's recovery lasted. Top automaker Hyundai Motor will report its first-quarter earnings the next day.
The world's largest smartphone maker Samsung Electronics and its smaller rival LG Electronics will unveil earnings for the first quarter next week.
Market watchers said no factors were detected to move the KOSPI up or down, noting investors refrained from an aggressive positioning ahead of disclosure of major data and earnings.
Foreign and retail investors bought stocks worth 88.2 billion won (84.82 million U.S. dollars) and 18 billion won (17.31 million U.S. dollars) respectively, but institutional investors dumped a net 107.3 billion won (103.19 million U.S. dollars) worth of stocks.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained 1 percent, and memory chip giant SK Hynix advanced 2.4 percent. Leading chemical firm LG Chem added 0.4 percent, but top web search engine NAVER declined 1.6 percent. The nation's No. 2 carmaker Kia Motors slid 1.5 percent, and the nation's largest life insurer Samsung Life Insurance dipped 2.9 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,039.8 won against the greenback, down 2.1 won from Tuesday's close.