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Seoul: Stocks edge lower as foreigners sell

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index edged down on Wednesday, giving up its gains in midday trading, as foreigners selloff prevailed over buying of local institutions. The South Korean won weakened and the benchmark bond yield fell. The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended down 3.18 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 2,145.62 points.

South Korean exports are expected to have contracted for the fourth straight month in March, hit by the deteriorating outlook for the chip business and faltering demand from major market China, a Reuters poll showed.

Korean Air Lines shareholders rejected an extension for CEO Cho Yang-ho as director in a landmark vote.

Foreigners were net sellers of 155.1 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

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The won was quoted at 1,134.5 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.10 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,133.4.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,134.6 per U.S. dollar, up 0.0 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,133.6 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.04 per cent, after U.S. stocks closed firmer. Japanese stocks fell 0.23 per cent.

The Kospi has risen 5.12 per cent so far this year, and fell 1.5 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 358.55 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 894, the number of advancing shares was 359.

The won has lost 1.7 per cent against the U.S dollar this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.15 points to 109.60, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.90 per cent.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 3.4 basis points to 1.730 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 5.8 basis points to 1.847 per cent.

REUTERS