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Seoul: Stocks end higher on trade optimism; won gains

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index and the South Korean won closed higher on Tuesday on hopes that China-US talks would thaw a potential trade war, while criticism of Federal Reserve rate hikes by US President Donald Trump dented the dollar.

At 0632 GMT, the Kospi closed up 22.18 points or 0.99 per cent at 2,270.06. South Korean chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix closed 2.2 per cent and 5 per cent higher, respectively, boosting the market. The won was quoted at 1,118.4 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.42 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,123.1.

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he was "not thrilled" with the Federal Reserve under his own appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates and said the US central bank should do more to help him to boost the economy.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,118.44 per US dollar, down 0.11 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,101.65 per dollar.

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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 0.09 per cent. The KOSPI slipped 8.9 per cent so far this year, and lost 1.10 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 290,503,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 898, the number of advancing shares was 523. Foreigners were net buyers of 106,699 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar rose 4.88 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2, 2018, and low is 1,140.4 on July 19, 2018. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.25 points to 108.87. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.902 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.99 per cent.

REUTERS