S.Korean shares tumble on concerns over end of QE in U.S.


South Korean shares fell sharply on Wednesday amid concerns over the earlier-than-expected end of quantitative easing in the United States.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) slumped 30.32 points, or 1.52 percent, to close at 1,959.19. Trading volume stood at 335.95 million shares worth 4.22 trillion won (3. 78 billion U.S. dollars).

The index began lower, and extended its earlier losses during the trading on worries that the U.S. Federal Reserve may curtail its bond buying program earlier than expected.

Kansas City Fed President Esther George reaffirmed her support for tapering bond purchases on Tuesday, saying that reducing monetary stimulus would help wean financial markets off their dependence on ultra-easy policy.

Fears spread that the Fed may scale back its bond purchases in its next policy-making meetings, driving the local stock market to lose steam.

Institutional investors offloaded a net 65.2 billion won worth of stocks, and non-arbitrage program transactions posted a net selling worth 140.8 billion won. Foreign and retail investors bought shares worth 2.3 billion won and 75 billion won each.

Among large-cap shares, decliners outnumbered gainers. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics fell 1.2 percent, and top automaker Hyundai Motor slid 2.1 percent. Memory chip giant SK Hynix declined 3.4 percent, and the nation's biggest auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis lost 2.6 percent.

STX Group saw its affiliates to end in negative territory on news that the shipping and shipbuilding conglomerate decided to file for the court receivership of its shipping unit STX Pan Ocean in the near future. STX Pan Ocean plunged by the daily permissible rate of 15 percent.

The local currency finished at 1,115.8 won against the greenback, up 6.4 won from Tuesday's close.

Bond prices ended lower. The yield on the liquid three-year treasury notes rose 0.03 percentage point to 2.81 percent, but the return on the benchmark five-year government bonds added 0.03 percentage point to 2.96 percent.