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Seoul: Stocks end flat; foreigners buy for 9th consecutive session


[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index closed flat on Monday as China's strong industrial output limited losses from China posting its weakest economic growth in 28 years. The South Korean won fell, while bond yields rose.

China's economic growth cooled slightly in the fourth quarter from a year earlier as expected, weighed down by weak investment and faltering consumer confidence as Washington piled on trade pressure, leaving 2018 growth the weakest in 28 years.

While US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that "things are going very well with China and with trade," he denied false reports that he was considering lifting tariffs on Chinese imports.

Investors are also waiting to hear British Prime Minister Theresa May's "Plan B" for Brexit which is due to be presented to parliament later on Monday.

At 0630 GMT, the Kospi ended up 0.33 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 2,124.61. The country's heavyweights were mixed with chipmaker shares of SK Hynix Inc closing up 3.7 per cent, while those of South Korea's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor Co tumbled 3.1 per cent.

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Foreigners were net buyers of 56,040 million won worth of shares, extending their purchase to a ninth consecutive session, the longest since mid-March, 2017.

The won was quoted at 1,128.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.55 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,121.9.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,127.68 per US dollar, down 0.23 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,110.85 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.14 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.26 per cent.

The Kospi is up around 4.1 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.47 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 392,704,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 896, the number of advancing shares was 452.

The US dollar has risen 1.29 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 1,130.05 on Jan 3, 2019.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 point to 109.23.

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 1.821 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.81 per cent. 


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