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Korea: Stocks flat, won slips on Brexit vote delay

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index traded flat on Tuesday as sharp gains in Samsung BioLogics Co on resumption of trade offset losses caused by external uncertainties, including Brexit vote delay, and global growth concerns.

The won fell while bond yields rose.

Biotech drug firm Samsung BioLogics resumed trading after the main stock exchange decided on Monday that the company is qualified to continue trading on the bourse.

Shares of Samsung BioLogics jumped as much as 25.6 per cent.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May abruptly postponed a parliamentary vote on her Brexit agreement, a move that hit risk assets globally.

China reported far weaker-than-expected November exports and imports, showing slower global and domestic demand and raising the possibility authorities will take more measures to keep the country's growth rate from slipping too much.

At 02:41 GMT, the Kospi was up 0.17 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 2,053.96.

North Korea-related shares dropped after the United States imposed sanctions on three North Korean officials, including a top aide to leader Kim Jong Un.

Celltrion Inc fell 6 per cent after TV network YTN reported the financial regulator is reviewing allegation that the drugmaker's unit Celltrion Healthcare is violating accounting rules.

An official at the Financial Supervisory Service, South Korea's financial watchdog, declined to comment on the report.

Celltrion Healthcare declined 7.7 per cent.

Ananti Inc surged as much as 28.8 per cent after the company said it plans to hire veteran US investor Jim Rogers as a non-executive director for three years. Ananti owns a private golf and spa resort in Mountain Kumgang, located in North Korea, which has stopped operating since 2008. The decision will be made after a general meeting of shareholders on Dec 27.

The won was quoted at 1,128.8 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.2 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,126.5.

Brexit vote delay boosted the dollar which led the won decline, said Lee Won, an analyst with Bokook Securities.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,128.89 per US dollar, down 0.13 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,109.15 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.12 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.56 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 16.8 per cent so far this year, and down by 2.89 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 cap is 1,242.04 trillion won.

The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was about 141 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 895, the number of advancing shares was 261.

Foreigners were net sellers of 150.7 billion million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.86 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per US dollar on April 2 and low is 1,146.26 on Oct 11.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.02 point to 109.19.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.9 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.812 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.8 per cent.

REUTERS