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Seoul: Stocks end firmer on hopes of Moon-Trump summit

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index closed higher on Wednesday amid hopes that a summit between Seoul and Washington would jumpstart stalled denuclearisation talks with North Korea. The won strengthened, while the benchmark bond yield dropped. 

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi closed up 10.83 points or 0.49 per cent at 2,224.39 points. The index extended gains into a ninth consecutive session on Wednesday.

Senior South Korean officials, including President Moon Jae-in, are launching a series of meetings with their US counterparts in a bid to jumpstart stalled denuclearisation talks with North Korea and mend fraying ties in their alliance.

Mr Moon will meet US President Donald Trump for a summit in Washington on April 11, the White House said on Friday.

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"The impact of IMF's global growth forecast did not last long. Investors are now turning their focus on the upcoming South Korea-US summit," said Lee Won, analyst, Bookook Securities.

The lack of progress with North Korea has become a domestic problem for Mr Moon, who has staked much of his political capital on improving relations with Pyongyang. Foreigners were net sellers of 3.8 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,138.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.31 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,142.1. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,138.0 per US dollar, up 0.2 per cent from the previous session, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract was quoted at 1,137.0 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.12 per cent, after U.S. stocks fell. Japanese stocks dropped 0.53 per cent.

The Kospi climbed 8.98 per cent so far this year, and dropped 0.9 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 390.93 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 895, the number of advancing shares was 558. The won has lost 2 per cent against the US dollar this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.03 point to 109.54, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.6 basis point to 1.731 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield declined by 0.3 basis point to 1.871 per cent.

REUTERS