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Seoul: Won bounces after recent slide, stocks edge up

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won strengthened against the dollar on Monday as investors took profit on the greenback's recent rise, fuelled by hawkish rate talk from US Federal Reserve officials.

The won was quoted at 1,814.4 as of 0209 GMT, up 0.5 per cent compared with the previous close of 1,190.2. The local currency dropped 1.6 per cent last week, pressured by the dollar.

"There is no strong momentum for the day, but the market should eye three Fed officials' speeches coming up later in the day and US economic data due to be released over the week," said Park Sung-woo, a foreign exchange analyst at NH Futures.

Park said a speech by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on Friday will be the biggest event for the market this week.

South Korean shares edged up, after wavering earlier in the session, as foreign investors turned into buyers.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) was up 0.2 per cent at 1,952.12 points.

Offshore investors were poised to be buyers, but the amount was small in early trade, standing at a net 2.7 billion Korean won (S$3.14 million) worth of KOSPI shares.

The sub-index for pharmaceutical shares supported the broader market by gaining 3.1 per cent.

Market heavyweight Posco was up 2.0 per cent and Hyundai Motor Co up 1.5 per cent.

Advancing issues and declining ones were almost even by 409 to 379.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds remained unchanged to 110.28.