Korea’s benchmark stock price index (Kospi) fell 9.94 points, or 0.3%, to close at 3,260.42 points.
Trade volume was moderated to around 685 million shares worth some 15.5 trillion won ($ 13.5 billion), with the losers outnumbering the winners 647-208.
Foreigners sold a net amount of 207 billion won, while retail investors bought a net amount of 950 billion won. The institutions discharged a net amount of 747 billion won.
The Kospi got off to a weak start as US employment data in July edged higher than market consensus, fueling investor concerns that the US Fed could move away from its accommodating position and consider accelerating its timetable for a rollback of its accommodating policies.
The key stock index rebounded late in the morning, largely as financial market leader Kakao Bank climbed 27.65% to an intraday high. The online banking unit of the Kakao Talk mobile messaging app went public on Friday.
The Kospi fell back towards the close of the session as Kakao Bank reduced its gains.
“After US employment data turns out to be strong, investors are paying close attention to July (inflation) indicators and the Jackson Hole meeting,” said Choi Yoo-joon, analyst at Shinhan Investment.
“Kakao Bank jumped on Kospi, but losses of other (large) stocks eventually offset its gains,” he added.
Most large caps closed mixed, while banking and financial stocks advanced.
Market leader Samsung Electronics closed unchanged at 81,500 won, while second-largest chipmaker SK hynix fell 1.69% to 116,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver rose 0.67% to 447,500 won, with rival Kakao gaining 1.72% to 148,000 won on the strength of its financial unit.
Giant pharmaceutical company Samsung Biologics lost 1.09% to 909,000 won, and leading automaker Hyundai Motor lost 0.67% to 221,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,144.3 won against the US dollar, down 2.2 won from the close of the previous session. (Yonhap)