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Seoul: Stocks end flat as caution prevails ahead of G20 summit

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended flat after swinging between gains and losses ahead of the G20 summit where US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping will meet amid escalated trade tension. The Korean won strengthened, and the benchmark bond yield fell.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi index rose 0.71 points or 0.03 per cent to 2,126.33.

Investors see little possibility of the two leaders reaching a meaningful agreement but expect to see some concrete direction of negotiation through the meeting, said Kim Ye-eun, analyst at IBK Securities.

Both China and the United States should make compromises in trade talks, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen said on Monday, ahead of the much anticipated meeting between the two leaders at this week's G20 summit in Japan.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the summit this week, state-run Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, giving the first official confirmation of his attendance at the gathering.

Foreigners were net sellers of 99.4 billion won (S$114.96 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,156.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.65 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,164.0.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,156.5 per US dollar, up 0.1 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,155.2 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.24 per cent, after US stocks fell. Japanese stocks rose 0.13 per cent.

The Kospi has risen 4.18 per cent so far this year, and gained 1.1 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.

Trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 660.55 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 372.

The won has lost 3.5 per cent against the greenback so far this year.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 point to 110.57, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.79 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.4 basis point to 1.436 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 1.0 basis point to 1.56 per cent.