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Seoul: Shares fall sharply; won closes at 2-week low

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index weakened on Wednesday as foreign investors turned to net sellers of local equities after a selloff in technology stocks on Wall Street overnight.

The Korean won and bond yields fell. At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI was down 35.75 points or 1.42 per cent at 2,474.37. The won closed at its two-week low of 1,093.7 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.72 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,085.8.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,092.8 per US dollar, down 0.57 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,089.6 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.27 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses.

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Japanese stocks weakened 1.97 per cent.

The KOSPI is up around 23.9 per cent so far this year, and down by 0.79 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 503,764,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 874, the number of advancing shares was 250.

Foreigners were net sellers of 336.2 billion won worth of shares.

The US dollar has fallen 9.41 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,075.71 per dollar on Nov 29 and low is 1,211.8 on Jan 3.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.11 points to108.28.

The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.66 per cent compared with a previous close of 1.66 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.103 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.11 per cent.

REUTERS