South Korean shares slid Monday on concerns that the U.S. central bank may signal its move toward policy rate increases at the September policy meeting this week.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slipped 6.04 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 2,035.82. Trading volume stood at 294.91 million shares worth 3.12 trillion won (3.01 billion U.S. dollars).
The Fed will hold a meeting of Federal Open Market Committee ( FOMC) for two days through Wednesday when the U.S. central bankers are expected to announce a change in their public guidance on the path of interest rates.
The Fed was expected by some market watchers to drop the phrase of keeping the benchmark interest rate "for a considerable time," indicating an earlier-than-expected rate hike.
Those expectations were based on upbeat economic indicators in the U.S., of which retail sales posted the fastest expansion in four months. The Fed's monthly bond-buying program was widely forecast to end within this year.
Industrial production and retail data in China, South Korea's No.1 trading partner, showed underperformance, boosting market worries.
Production in Chinese factories increased 6.9 percent in August from a year earlier, down from a nine percent rise in July. Retail sales growth slowed to 11.9 percent in August from 12.1 percent in July.
Foreign investors were net buyers, but the buying volume was valued merely at 18.4 billion won. Institutional and retail investors sold stocks worth 10.4 billion won and 10 billion won respectively.
Large-cap shares ended mixed. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 0.2 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 0.5 percent. The nation's No.1 steelmaker POSCO retreated 1.4 percent, but the biggest mobile operator SK Telecom added 12 percent.
Top auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis climbed 2.2 percent, but memory chip giant SK Hynix tumbled 3.7 percent.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,038.0 won against the greenback, down 2.7 won from Friday's close.