South Korean stocks closed slightly lower on Thursday as investors were cautious ahead of the release of US consumer price index (CPI) data, which would impact the Federal Reserve’s decision on interest rates. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) fell 0.14 percent to 2,601.56. Offshore investors and institutions sold a combined 247.2 billion won worth of local shares, while individuals bought a net 264.5 billion won. The US stock market also declined due to investor caution before the release of the CPI report. Analysts attributed the Kospi’s decline to a wait-and-see approach and profit-taking after a 1.2 percent increase the previous day. Tech shares, including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, were among the biggest losers. On the other hand, retailers and hotel operators benefited from reports that the Chinese government lifted a ban on group travel to South Korea and other regions. In currency markets, the Korean won ended at 1,316 won against the US dollar, down from the previous session’s close.

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