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Seoul: Stocks end flat; won weakest since September 2017

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index wavered on Monday to end flat as the South Korean won fell to its weakest since September 2017, capping earlier gains boosted by US job data and China stimulus. The country's benchmark bond yields dropped.

The currency won closed at 1,144.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.71 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,136.6.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended nearly unchanged at 2,210.60 points, up 0.99 point or 0.04 per cent from the previous session.

Favourable US job data boosted the dollar, while reports that Norway's sovereign wealth fund will cut emerging market bonds including South Korea from the benchmark index it tracks dented the currency market, said Lee Kyoung-min, analyst, Daishin Securities.

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Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, will streamline its US$300 billion fixed-income portfolio by cutting emerging market bonds from the benchmark index it tracks, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. Government and corporate bonds including US$6.3 billion worth bonds issued by South Korea would be affected.

Shares of Korean Air Lines parent Hanjin Group's subsidiaries jumped on hopes for a leadership renewal after the group's Chairman Cho Yang-ho passed away on Monday due to a chronic illness. Korean Air gained 3.8 per cent, while Hanjin Kal Corp and Hanjin Transportation Co Ltd jumped 17.7 per cent and 13.2 per cent, respectively.

Foreigners were net buyers of 275.4 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,144.8 per US dollar, down 0.7 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,143.8 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.12 per cent, after US stocks ended its previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks fell 0.21 per cent.

The Kospi rose 8.31 per cent so far this year, and fell 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 335.88 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 897, the number of advancing shares was 428 shares.

he won has lost 2.5 per cent against the US dollar this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.03 point to 109.55, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 1.2 basis points to 1.723 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield dropped by 2.5 basis points to 1.867 per cent.

REUTERS