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Seoul: Stocks eke out gains; Fed in focus

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares ended slightly higher on Wednesday, ahead of the release of Fed's July meeting minutes later in the day and Fed Chair Jerome Powell's Jackson Hole speech this week. The Korean won strengthened, and the benchmark bond yield rose.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi rose 4.40 points, or 0.22 per cent, to 1,964.65 points.

"Kospi seems to have lost direction ... investors are on a wait-and-see mode before the Jackson Hole speech as they seek clues on US interest rate cuts and global economic growth, said Noh Dong Gill, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

Foreigners were net sellers of 128.6 billion won (S$147.54 million) worth of shares on the main board.

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The won was quoted at 1,202.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.48 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,208.3.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,201.9 per US dollar, up 0.3 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,200.9 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 per cent, after US stocks fell. Japanese stocks fell 0.28 per cent.

The Kospi has fallen 3.74 per cent so far this year, and lost 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 in the Kospi index was 382.23 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 552.

The won has lost 7.2 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.18 points to 111.21, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.49 per cent.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 2.8 basis points to 1.129 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield increased 4.9 basis points to 1.247 per cent.

REUTERS