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Seoul: Stocks end higher, won flat; Sino-US trade woes linger

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended firmer on Monday as investors took a cautious stance amid conflicting signals on the prospects for a truce in the Sino-US trade dispute. The South Korean won was flat, while bond yields dropped.

At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI closed up 8.16 points or 0.39 per cent at 2,100.56.

Asia-Pacific leaders failed to agree on a communique at a summit in Papua New Guinea on Sunday for the first time in their history as deep divisions between the United States and China over trade and investment stymied cooperation.

"We will have to observe the situation until any official statements are made on trade dispute from Trump-Xi meeting on the sidelines of a G-20 summit later this month," says Lee Jae-sun, analyst, KTB Investment & Securities.

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South Korean shares with business exposure to North Korea jump as Chinese President Xi Jinping says he intends to visit North Korea next year; Hanil Hyundai Cement closed up 10.3 per cent, while Hyundai Rotem and Hyundai Elevator ended 5.4 per cent and 5.8 per cent higher, respectively.

Shares of Korean Air Line's parent Hanjin Kal Corp and Hanjin Transportation Co Ltd, Hanjin Group's shipping arm, tumbled as South Korean activist fund KCGI denied speculation that it is acquiring a stake in Hanjin Kal to take over the company's management; Hanjin Kal and Hanjin Transportation closed down 6.7 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively.

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering dropped 4.7 per cent on its close after the company on Friday said its deal with a European shipowner was amended to build one oil container from three ships.

The won was quoted at 1,128.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.01 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,128.5.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,128.15 per US dollar, down 0.69 per cent from the previous session, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,108.75 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.10 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.65 per cent.

The Kospi slipped 15.2 per cent so far this year, and fell 8.01 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 268,926,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 895, the number of advancing shares was 628 shares.

Foreigners were net sellers of 92,623 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar rose 5.79 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 1,146.26 on Oct 11, 2018.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 point to 108.76.

The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.7 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.942 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.95 per cent.

REUTERS