(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)
SEOUL, May 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks closed marginally lower Wednesday to extend their losing streak to a seventh day as investors took a cautious approach amid concerns over high inflation and a global economic downturn, analysts said. The local currency inched up against the U.S. dollar.
The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 4.29 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,592.27. Trading volume was light at 664.4 million shares worth 8.4 trillion won (US$6.58 billion), with decliners outstripping gainers 502 to 360.
"Faced with the policy dilemma of having to control inflation versus propping up the economy, the U.S. Fed's monetary policy has been put to the test," Kwak Byeong-yeol, an analyst at Leading Investment & Securities Co., said.
"Uncertainties about an economic slowdown are inevitably a burden for the stock market, as the market tends to move in sync with the economic direction," he said.
Overnight, U.S. shares ended mixed on fears over an economic slowdown and the Federal Reserve's aggressive monetary tightening to curb inflation.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average went down 0.26 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 0.98 percent.
On the Seoul bourse, foreigners were net sellers, unloading a net 288 billion won worth of local equities, with institutional investors also offloading a net 90.9 billion won. Retail investors bought a net 345.8 billion won.
Shares closed mixed, with transport and logistics shares gathering ground, while most large-cap financial stocks finished bearish.
Leading container shipper HMM soared 3.66 percent to 29,700 won, and CJ Logistics advanced 4.53 percent to 127,000 won.
Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance shed 1.75 percent to 196,000 won and major banking firm Shinhan Financial lost 1.58 percent to 40,450 won.
Top-cap Samsung Electronics closed flat at 65,700 won, and No. 1 battery maker LG Energy Solution slipped 0.51 percent to 391,500 won.
Hyundai Motor rose 1.39 percent to 183,000 won, and platform operator Kakao gained 2.15 percent to 85,400 won.
The local currency ended at 1,275.30 won against the U.S. dollar, up 1.1 won from Tuesday's close.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yield, closed sharply higher. The yield on three-year Treasurys fell 11.8 basis points to 2.928 percent and the return on the five-year government bonds slid 13.7 basis points to 3.160 percent.
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