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Seoul: Stocks rise; won strengthens to 2-1/2-yr high

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index advanced on Wednesday. The Korean won rose and bond yields climbed.

At 0632 GMT, the KOSPI was up 9.81 points or 0.39 per cent at 2,540.51. The won was quoted at 1,089.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, the highest since May 19, 2015. It was 0.62 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,095.8. The currency's strong trend is expected to persist for a while as many traders are betting on strong foreign demand for local equities.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,087.97 per US dollar, up 0.2 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,085.44 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.54 per cent, after US stocks put on a strong performance overnight. Japanese stocks rose 0.48 per cent. The KOSPI is up around 24.9 per cent so far this year, and 3.98 per cent higher in the previous 30 days.

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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.

The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 477,887,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 873, the number of advancing shares was 341.

Foreigners were net buyers of 40,038 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has fallen 9.83 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,088.31 per dollar on Nov 22, 2017 and low is 1,211.8 on Jan 3, 2017. In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.01 point to 107.94.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.48 per cent compared with a previous close of 1.47 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.171 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.16 per cent.

REUTERS

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