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Seoul: Stocks edge up, won strengthens

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index rose on Friday. The Korean won climbed in the local platform and bond yields rose. At 0630 GMT, the Kospi was up 8.51 points or 0.34 per cent at 2,496.42. The won was quoted at 1,064.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.68 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,072.

The currency was buoyed by a weaker US dollar after the euro rose on European Central Bank's signal to end its massive stimulus. The won edged down 0.2 per cent for the week, snapping four straight weeks of gains.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,063.9 per US dollar, up 0.06 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,056.75 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.63 per cent, after Wall Street's three major stock indexes hit record highs. Japanese stocks weakened 0.24 per cent.

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The Kospi is up around 0.8 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.79 per cent in the previous 30 days. The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28 per cent and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won (S$1.55 trillion). The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 432.74 million shares, and of the total traded issues of 884, the number of advancing shares was 362.

Foreigners were net sellers of 107,211 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has fallen 0.23 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,059 per US dollar on Jan 8, 2018 and low is 1,073.2 on Jan 11, 2018. In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.07 points to 107.73.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.66 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.172 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.15 per cent.

REUTERS

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