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Seoul: Stocks close little changed; won edges lower

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended the dull trade largely unchanged on Thursday in the absence of any market-moving drivers. The South Korean won edged lower, while the benchmark bond yield dropped. The Seoul stock market's main Kospi closed up 0.05 point at 2,224.44 points.

Shares of Kumho Asiana Group units surged after the conglomerate pledged to sell its airline arm Asiana Airlines , if it fails to implement restructuring plan. The group's main creditor Korea Development Bank, however, said the plan was not sufficient to restore market trust.

Hyundai Pharmaceutical, which produces morning after-pill, added 7.3 per cent after the constitutional court said ban on abortion is unconstitutional, as investors bet the pill could become a non-prescription medicine. Foreigners were net buyers of 280.3 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,139.4 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.07 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,138.6. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,139.0 per US dollar, down 0.2 per cent from the previous session, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,138.0 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.39 per cent, after US stocks edged higher. Japanese stocks rose 0.11 per cent.

The Kospi climbed 8.99 per cent so far this year, and dipped 0.1 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 395.01 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 897, the number of advancing shares was 557.

The won lost 2.1 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds dipped 0.01 points to 109.53, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield slipped by 0.2 basis point to 1.729 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 0.5 basis point to 1.866 per cent. 

REUTERS