(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)
SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed lower for the second straight session Tuesday as institutional and foreign investors cashed in gains amid concerns of an overheated market. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 22.5 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 3,125.95 points, falling for the second consecutive session.
Trading volume was high at about 1.37 billion shares worth around 31.1 trillion won (US$28.3 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 435 to 408.
Institutions offloaded a net 1.72 trillion won, and foreigners dumped a net 619.3 billion won. Retail investors picked up a net 2.31 trillion won.
The main index opened on a weak note, tumbling to as low as 3,047.56 points before trimming its losses later in the afternoon.
Analysts said investors took a breather as they remained cautious of an overheated KOSPI after it continued to hit fresh record highs last week.
"The broader investor sentiment is subdued with strong tendency toward profit taking," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, added that the selling spree by institutions that bought local stocks for the year-end dividends last year will likely continue until the option expiration day Thursday.
Most large caps in Seoul ended lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics retreated 0.44 percent to 90,600 won, and No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix fell 3.01 percent to 129,000 won.
Top automaker Hyundai Motor declined 2.43 percent to 261,000 won after three consecutive sessions of advances on reports that it may cooperate with Apple over autonomous electric cars.
Leading chemical firm LG Chem tumbled 3.61 percent to 962,000 won, while rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI gained 2.05 percent to 745,000 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics moved down 3.31 percent to 818,000 won, while Celltrion rose 2.67 percent to 384,000 won.
Internet portal Naver slipped 1.62 percent to 304,000 won, while its rival Kakao added 0.99 percent to 457,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,099.9 won against the U.S. dollar, down 2.6 won from the previous session's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 0.7 basis point to 0.976 percent, and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond rose 1.4 basis points to 1.315 percent.
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