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Seoul: Stocks erase gains; won hits highest close in 3-1/2 years

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South Korea's KOSPI stock index ended slightly lower on Monday, wiping off earlier gains in the session. The Korean won firmed to near 3-1/2 year high, while bond yields also rose.

[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index ended slightly lower on Monday, wiping off earlier gains in the session. The Korean won firmed to near 3-1/2 year high, while bond yields also rose.

At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI closed down 1.69 points or 0.07 per cent at 2,444.16. The benchmark index erased earlier gains amid worries about trade tensions between the United States and China. Beijing increased tariffs by up to 25 per cent on 128 US products, escalating a spat between the world's biggest economies in response to US duties on imports of aluminium and steel.

The won was quoted at 1,056.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.65 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,063.5. It was the highest closing level since Oct 30, 2014.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,055.04 per US dollar, up 0.45 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it fetched 1,041.45 per dollar.

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The KOSPI is down around 0.9 per cent so far this year, and up by 2.12 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 386,502,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 888, the number of advancing shares was 351.

Foreigners were net sellers of 27,147 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has fallen 1.02 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,056.67 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 fell 0.04 points to 107.67.

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 2.232 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.22 per cent.

REUTERS