SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks decreased more than 1 percent Thursday, as more investors turned to profit-taking that stemmed from tech valuation concerns. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) dropped 29.75 points, or 1.22 percent, to close at 2,406.17.
Trading volume was moderate at about 834 million shares worth some 13.9 trillion won (US$11.8 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 655 to 200.
Foreigners sold a net 126 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 457 billion won. Institutions dumped a net 334 billion won.
The KOSPI dropped for a second straight session on profit-taking.
"Profit-taking intensified among certain stocks that hitchhiked on the recent rally without improved fundamentals," Kiwoom Securities analyst Seo Sang-young said.
Despite the U.S. Federal Reserve's signal to keep the near-zero rate till 2023, the local stock market remained bearish.
"The fact that the FOMC did not signal additional asset-buying seems to have disappointed investors who hoped for larger liquidity in the markets," Bookook Securities researcher Lee Won said.
Most large caps closed lower.
Market bellwether Samsung Electronics lost 2.46 percent to 59,500 won, but No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix climbed 0.86 percent to 82,200 won.
Leading chemical maker LG Chem plunged 6.11 percent to 645,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI declined 0.89 percent to 445,500 won.
Top pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics retreated 2.45 percent to 757,000 won, and Celltrion declined 1.59 percent to 291,500 won.
Internet portal giant Naver dipped 2.12 percent to 300,500 won, with its rival Kakao falling 2.49 percent to 371,000 won.
Hyundai Motor, the country's largest automaker, edged up 0.27 percent to 184,000 won, while top steelmaker POSCO advanced 0.53 percent to 190,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,174.4 won per dollar, up 1.7 won from the previous session's close.