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Seoul: Stocks end flat ahead of Fed meeting, trade talks

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended little changed on Monday amid caution ahead of the US Federal Reserve policy meeting and Sino-US trade talks. The Korean won and bond yields rose.

The Kospi index settled largely unchanged at 2,177.30. Waiting for the key events, including Fed meeting and Sino-US trade talks, investor sentiment turned cautious, said Han Ji-young, an analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.

South Korea's presidential office said on Monday that Qatar's energy minister outlined plans during a bilateral summit for Doha to order 60 new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.

Shares of shipbuilders ended firmer on the report; Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries ended up 2.5 per cent, 4 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.

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The won was quoted at 1,117.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.32 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,121.3. 

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,117.48 per U.S. dollar, up 0.03 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,101.85 per dollar. 

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.02 per cent, after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.6 per cent. 

The Kospi is up around 6.7 per cent so far this year, and up by 6.08 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 366,842,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 894, the number of advancing shares was 359.

Foreigners were net buyers of 354,546 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 0.41 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,113.81 per dollar on Jan 11, 2019 and low is 1,133.4 on Jan 21, 2019.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.03 points to 109.24. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.822 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.81 per cent.

REUTERS