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Seoul: Stocks end at 4-week high; won erases gains

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South Korea's KOSPI stock index ended higher on Wednesday. The won reversed earlier gains and closed lower while bond yields rose.

[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index ended higher on Wednesday. The won reversed earlier gains and closed lower while bond yields rose. At 0632 GMT, the KOSPI was up 26.21 points or 1.07 per cent at 2,479.98. The index closed at its highest since March 22.

South Korea said it is considering how to change an armistice with North Korea into a peace agreement, as US officials confirmed an unprecedented top-level meeting with the North Korean leader, easing political tensions over the Korean peninsula. The move cheered sentiment, pushing up market heavyweights such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, up 2.8 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively.

The won was quoted at 1,068.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.16 per cent weaker than its previous close of 1,067.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,067.73 per US dollar, down 0.15 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,052.8 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.55 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session higher. Japanese stocks rose 1.42 per cent.

The KOSPI is down around 0.6 per cent so far this year, and down by 1.76 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 639,823,000 shares, and of the total 885 issues traded, the number of advancing shares was 513. Foreigners were net buyers of 343,376 million won worth of shares.

The U.S dollar has risen 0.13 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on Apr 2, 2018 and the low is 1,098.4 on Feb 6, 2018. In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.02 points to 107.82. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.191 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.18 per cent.

REUTERS