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Seoul: Stocks extend losses on global uncertainties; won gains

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended down on Wednesday as external uncertainties, ranging from US-China to Middle East tensions. The won ended higher and bond yields edged up.

US President Donald Trump warned on Monday that the US intended to build up its arsenal of nuclear weapons to pressure Russia and China. While Trump blamed Russian violations of a missile treaty, he has also pointed a finger at China, leading to an escalation in US-China tensions. At 0632 GMT, the Kospi was down 8.52 points or 0.40 per cent at 2,097.58.

South Korea's top two biopharma firms, Celltrion and Samsung BioLogics, plunged in the wake of Monday's block deal and possible disciplinary action, respectively. Celltrion and Samsung BioLogics closed down 8.5 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.

Shares of South Korean chemical producers climbed after the United States International Trade Commission says polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin from Korea does not injure US Industry; TK Chemical Corp surged as much as 17.6 per cent, while Lotte Chemical Corp rose up to 7.2 per cent.

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The country's chip giants fell on worries over near-term outlook. SK Hynix closed down 3.5 per cent at its lowest since September 2017, while Samsung Electronics fell over 1 per cent.

The won was quoted at 1,132.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.47 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,137.6. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,131.77 per U.S. dollar, up 0.27 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,112.85 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.13 per cent, after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks rose 0.37 per cent. The Kospi is down around 14.6 per cent so far this year, and down by 9.05 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 392,945,000 shares and, of the total 899 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 281. Foreigners were net sellers of 331,658 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 6.14 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and the low is 1,146.26 on Oct. 11. In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.04 points to 108.5. The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.7 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.008 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.99 per cent.

REUTERS