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Seoul: Stocks down; won jumps to 4-month high as greenback slips

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won rose to a four-month closing high on Friday, marking its fourth straight gaining session as the US dollar weakened broadly after US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's comments cast doubts on the Trump administration's promised tax reform policy.

The won extended gains on South Korea's finance minister's remarks about current US dollar-won volatility earlier in the session, but stepped back after currency authorities said they are watching foreign exchange rates closely.

The won was quoted at 1,131.5 to the US dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade, highest since Oct 20. It was up 0.5 per cent compared with Thursday's close of 1,137.3.

The local currency touched as high as 1,127.6, up 1.7 per cent during past four days of gains. For the week, the won gained 1.3 per cent, its largest weekly percentage gain in six weeks, and up 6.7 per cent on a yearly basis.

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Meanwhile, South Korean shares slipped on stock-selling from foreign investors and domestic institutions.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) closed down 0.6 per cent at 2,094.12.

Offshore investors offloaded a net 122.6 billion won (S$153.076 million) worth of Kospi shares for the day, snapping their six-day buying spree.