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Seoul: Stocks decline tracking Chinese markets; won slips

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index dropped on Friday in line with Chinese markets, in its fourth straight session of losses. The Korean won and bond yields slipped. At 0631 GMT, the Kospi was down 12.47 points, or 0.60 per cent, at 2,057.48. For the week, the main index lost 1.7 per cent. South Korean markets became bearish tracking Chinese stocks following the Chinese Vice-Commerce Minister said Beijing hopes Sino-US trade talk to be equal and mutually beneficial, according to Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

Shares exposed to North Korea surge, with Busan Industrial jumping 17.1 per cent, as a unification ministry official said the country is in talks with the United States and other relevant countries to discuss temporary sanctions exemption for a joint railway field study with Pyongyang.

Shares of South Korean global trading company Hyundai Corp closed up 5.3 per cent on optimism peace talks in Yemen will lead to a revival of business at its Yemen LNG project. The won was quoted at 1,130.5 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.11 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,129.2.

The South Korean won weakened 0.2 per cent on weekly basis, marking the third consecutive week of decline. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,130.26 per US dollar, up 0.05 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,109.3 per dollar. 

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.23 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.65 per cent. The Kospi is down around 16.1 per cent so far this year, and down by 2.80 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 221,453,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 894, the number of advancing shares was 233.

Foreigners were net buyers of 31,872 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 5.99 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2, 2018 and low is 1,146.26 on Oct 11, 2018. In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.08 points to 108.86.

The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.7 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.914 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.95 per cent.

REUTERS