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Seoul: Stocks edge lower, biopharma shares top drag

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index slipped on Monday, dragged by leading biopharma shares. The Korean won weakened against the dollar and bond yields fell. The Kospi closed 5.65 points, or 0.27 per cent, weaker at 2,080.44.

Biopharma stocks led the fall, said Kim Yong-goo, an analyst with Hana Financial Investment, adding that the decline was independent from global impacts.

Shares of Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd, the fifth-largest KOSPI company, closed 22.4 per cent lower amid concerns ahead of a meeting of regulators this week to review whether it has violated rules which could lead to its delisting.

Celltrion, the largest biopharma company and third-biggest KOSPI company, fell nearly 12 per cent as its Q3 operating profit slumped 44.2 per cent from a year earlier. 

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The won was quoted at 1,133.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.49 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,128.3. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,134.19 per US dollar, down 0.4 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,115.25 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.32 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks rose 0.09 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 15.5 per cent so far this year, and down by 10.82 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 291,483,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 896, the number of advancing shares was 325. Foreigners were net buyers of 43,052 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 6.36 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 0.06 point to 108.75. 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 1.944 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.96 per cent.

REUTERS