Seoul: Stocks fall over 1% on signs of intensifying trade tensions

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index fell more than 1 per cent on Friday on signs of intensifying Sino-US trade tensions after US President Donald Trump said he will not meet his Chinese counterpart. The South Korean won was steady, while bond yields fell.

The Kospi closed down 26.37 points, or 1.20 per cent, at 2,177.05. For the week, it weakened 1.2 per cent, snapping four consecutive weekly gains.

The stock index extended its loss after a media report that Trump is expected to sign an executive order to ban Chinese telecom equipment from US wireless networks, Seo Sang-young, an analyst with Kiwoom Securities, said in a note.

The Trump administration plans to announce the directive within this month, Politico reported on Thursday. Mr Trump said on Thursday he did not plan to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a March 1 deadline set by the two countries to achieve a trade deal, fuelling concerns over the trade friction.

The won was quoted at 1,123.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.02 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,124.1. The currency lost 0.5 per cent on a weekly basis.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,123.68 per US dollar, up 0.01 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,107.95 per dollar. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.54 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks weakened 2.01 per cent.

The Kospi is up around 8.0 per cent so far this year, and up by 5.99 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions. 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 384.87 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 896, the number of advancing shares was 342. Foreigners were net sellers of 283.48 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

The US dollar has risen 0.94 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,108.67 per dollar on Jan 31 and low is 1,133.4 on Jan 21. In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.07 points to 109.35. The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent, while the most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.788 per cent, lower than 1.802 per cent in the previous session. 


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