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Seoul: Stocks end lower on renewed US-China trade war fears

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index weakened on Friday, although Samsung Electronics reported record March-quarter profit, on heightened risk aversion as US President Donald Trump's threat to impose more tariffs on China aggravated trade war fears.

The Korean won marked further losses in the local platform, while bond yields also fell. At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI closed down 7.94 points or 0.33 per cent at 2,429.58. The benchmark index shed 0.7 per cent for the week. Samsung Electronics fell 0.7 per cent as investors took profits after it gained nearly 4 per cent on Thursday.

LG Electronics said on Friday first-quarter operating profit likely rose 20 per cent from a year earlier, beating market expectations. The stock rose 5.7 per cent.

The won was quoted at 1,069.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.93 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,059.7. The currency extended losses as investors turned away from riskier assets as trade tensions between the United States and China flared back again.

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In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,067.59 per U.S. dollar, down 0.56 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it fetched 1,052.7 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.04 per cent, after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.36 per cent.

The KOSPI is down around 1.2 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.32 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 446,361,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 887, the number of advancing shares was 315.

Foreigners were net sellers of 238,347 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 0.11 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 1,098.4 on Feb 6 2018.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.08 points to 107.92. 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 2.158 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.18 per cent.

REUTERS