South Korean shares fell to an eight- month low Friday as foreign funds flowed out of the local stock market on the continued depreciation of the local currency against the U.S. dollar, which would lift foreign exchange losses from stock investment.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) sank 18. 17 points, or 0.95 percent, to close at 1,900.66. Trading volume stood at 355.54 million shares worth 4.45 trillion won (4.18 billion U.S. dollars).
Foreigners reduced stock holdings by 301.8 billion won, leading the KOSPI decline. Offshore investors continued to sell local stocks this month, sending the October foreign selling to about 2. 4 trillion won.
Market watchers said the foreign fund outflow was caused by the South Korean currency's fall to the dollar, which fueled worries about foreign exchange losses from stock investment.
The South Korean currency finished at 1,065.9 won against the greenback, down 4.4 won from Thursday's close.
Adding to the concerns, worries remained over the economic slowdown in Europe that was feared to slow global recovery. Investors also worried about the U.S. Federal Reserve, which was widely expected to raise interest rates in the second half of next year.
Institutional and retail investors bought stocks worth 207.3 billion won and 79.3 billion won respectively, but retail investors were net sellers in the KOSPI200 index futures market, reflecting expectations for stock falls in the future.
Most large-cap shares lost ground. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics slid 2.3 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 3.6 percent. The biggest steelmaker POSCO added 0.3 percent, but the No.1 mobile operator SK Telecom tumbled 4.8 percent.
Bond prices ended higher. Yields on the liquid three-year treasury notes declined 0.7 basis points to 2.245 percent, and the return on the benchmark 10-year government bonds lost 0.7 basis points to 2.731 percent.