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South Korea: Stocks, won slightly weaker after North Korean missile launch

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares were slightly weaker on Wednesday as a North Korean missile launch kept market sentiment cautious with investors awaiting reaction from the United States to Pyongyang's latest provocation.

North Korea fired what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan, with some scientists cautioning that Washington, DC could now theoretically be within range of Pyongyang's weapons.

"Market players seem to be waiting for more information, but South Korean financial markets would not show much volatility unless there are successive missile launches like before," said Kim Doo Un, a foreign exchange analyst at Hana Financial Investment.

Following is a round-up of South Korean financial markets:

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South Korea's Kospi stock index weakened on Wednesday. The Korean won was steady in the local platform while bond yields rose.

At 01:36 GMT, the Kospi was down 0.03 points at 2,514.16.

The won was quoted at 1,084.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.02 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,084.4.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,083.7 per US dollar, down 0.07 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,079.35 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.27 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.55 per cent.

The Kospi is up around 24.1 per cent so far this year, and up by 1.20 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.

The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 107,630,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 866, the number of advancing shares was 309.

Foreigners were net sellers of 16,245 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has fallen 10.16 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,079.66 per dollar on November 28 2017 and low is 1,211.8 on January 3 2017.

The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.5 per cent compared with a previous close of 1.5 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.126 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.12 per cent.

REUTERS

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