SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- South Korean shares fell on Monday as foreigners continued to sell local shares amid concerns over the corporate earnings for the third quarter.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 2. 25 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 1,941.59. Trading volume stood at 454.13 million shares worth 3.77 trillion won (3.42 billion U.S. dollars).
The KOSPI started lower following the Wall Street losses last weekend. The U.S. stocks dropped sharply due to the less-than- expected quarterly earnings results from major companies such as General Electric and McDonald's.
McDonald's, the world's largest fast food chain, reported a 3.5 percent profit decline for its third-quarter earnings, and General Electric also posted disappointing earnings short of market expectations. After Intel, IBM and Microsoft, Google also reported an earnings report widely missing analysts' expectations.
Foreign investors continued to sell local stocks, weighing on the local stock market for two straight sessions. Foreigners sold a net 78.6 billion won worth of stocks, and institutional investors offloaded a net 58.9 billion won worth of shares.
The KOSPI, however, trimmed its earlier losses to end slightly down in the end thanks to purchases by retail investors, who bought a net 132.6 billion won worth of stocks.
Experts said market attention would be paid this week to corporate earnings results that were widely expected to miss market consensus, but they noted that less-than-expected earnings for the third quarter may already be priced in the stock market.
Top steelmaker POSCO is scheduled to announce its third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, with the schedule for SK Hynix and LG Electronics set at Wednesday, Hyundai Motor on Thursday and Samsung Electronics on Friday.
Most large-cap shares ended bearish, but the decline was limited. Top steelmaker POSCO edged down 0.28 percent to 356,000 won, and consumer electronics giant LG Electronics declined 0.95 percent to 72,800 won. The country's No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor retreated 0.88 percent to 226,000 won, and its affiliate Kia Motors lost 0.9 percent to 66,200 won.
Tech shares ended bullish. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics advanced 1 percent to 1,315,000 won, and memory chip giant SK Hynix rose 0.43 percent to 23,400 won.
The local currency finished at 1,104.2 won against the greenback, down 0.9 won from Friday's close.
Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.03 percentage point to 2.84 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 0.03 percentage point to 2.92 percent.