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Seoul: Stocks end little changed as investors eye trade talks

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares closed flat on Monday as investors stayed away from making big bets ahead of Sino-US trade talks following a report that China was reluctant to agree to broad trade deal with the United States. The South Korean won was little changed, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

This week, the main focus will be on high-level US-China trade negotiations slated to happen in Washington on Oct 10-11 to see if the two sides can end a year-long trade war that has hurt global growth and raised the risk of recession.

Chinese officials signalled that they were increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by US President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

South Korea's tech giant Samsung Electronics is likely to flag a 60 per cent decline in July-September operating profit to seven trillion won (S$8.08 billion) on Tuesday. Markets would remain cautious this week ahead of trade negotiations, said Kim Ye-eun, an analyst at IBK Securities. Investors would shrug off Samsung's earnings guidance unless it considerably exceeds expectations, she added.

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South Korean stocks exposed to North Korea slumped after working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang were broken off on Saturday, weighing on the broader markets.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended up 1.04 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 2,021.73.

Foreigners were net sellers of 21.6 billion won worth of shares on the main board. The won was quoted at 1,196.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.02 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,196.8.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,196.3 per US dollar, down 0.4 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,195.5 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.18 per cent, after US stocks jumped. Japanese stocks fell 0.16 per cent.

The Kospi has fallen 0.95 per cent so far this year, but gained 3.1 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The trading volume during the session in the Kospi index was 317.31 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 887, the number of advancing shares was 287.

The won has lost 6.8 per cent against the dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.03 point to 111.06, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.55 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 2.3 basis points to 1.233 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 1.2 basis points to 1.385 per cent.

REUTERS