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Seoul: Stocks end higher for 4th straight day; won rises

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index closed higher on Friday as relief on Sino-US trade conflict cheered investors' risk appetite. The South Korean won as inched up against dollar, while bond yields also rose.

At 0630 GMT, the Kospi ended up 17.22 points, or 0.82 per cent, at 2,124.28, marking the fourth straight session of rise, the longest gaining streak since late November, 2018. For the week, the index added 2.3 per cent.

Foreigners were net buyers of 11,322 million won worth of shares. They were net buyers for the eighth consecutive session, the longest since mid-March 2017.

In addition to hopes for easing US-China trade tension, Chinese government is deploying all measures for stimulus, which provides momentum for local and other emerging markets, said Kim Yong-goo, an analyst at Hana Financial Investment, expecting the upturn would continue for first half of this year.

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The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports and suggested offering a tariff rollback during trade discussions scheduled for Jan 30.

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Jan 30 and 31 for the latest round of trade talks aimed at resolving the bitter dispute between the world's two largest economies.

The won was quoted at 1,121.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.05 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,122.5. On weekly basis, it lost 0.5 per cent. 

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,121.96 per US dollar, down 0.02 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,104.4 per dollar. 

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.64 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 1.29 per cent.

The Kospi is up around 3.2 per cent so far this year, and up by 1.17 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 449,278,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 896, the number of advancing shares was 622. The US dollar has risen 0.77 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 fell 0.03 points to 109.26. 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 1.81 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.79 per cent.

REUTERS