South Korean shares ended in negative territory on Thursday as investors viewed the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting as a negative factor to the market.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 2. 24 points, or 0.11 percent, to close at 1,958.93. Trading volume stood at 307.57 million shares worth 4.92 trillion won (4.66 billion U.S. dollars).
The Federal Reserve decided to finish its monthly bond-buying program as expected, maintaining its promise that it will keep the policy rate at a range of zero to 0.25 percent for a "considerable period of time."
The Fed, however, assessed the U.S. labor and economic conditions more positively than before, boosting market concerns over earlier-than-expected rate increase.
Foreign and institutional investors sold stocks worth 30.7 billion won and 129.7 billion won each after purchasing shares in the previous session. Retail investors bought shares worth 147.8 billion won.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics surged 4.5 percent, limiting the KOSPI's decline. Samsung's third-quarter operating profit plunged 60 percent, but it was already priced in the shares, market watchers said.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Naver, the owner of most-used search engine, tumbled 3.6 percent, and top steel company POSCO declined 2.8 percent. Leading cosmetics company Amore Pacific slid 1.2 percent, but the biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis advanced 1.4 percent. Leading banking group KB financial Group gained 1.5 percent, and top non-life insurer Samsung Fire & Marine climbed 1.7 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,055.5 won against the greenback, down 8.2 won from Wednesday's close.
Bond prices ended higher. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes fell 1.1 basis points to 2.196 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds lost 2.2 basis points to 2.684 percent.