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Seoul: Stocks extend losses on lingering trade worries

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares fell for a sixth straight session on Wednesday, as worries over US-China trade war persisted, but the losses were capped by China's move to stabilise the yuan. The South Korean won barely moved and the benchmark bond yield was unchanged.

Sentiment has recovered slightly after sharp falls early this week, but it's hard to expect a rebound for a while, said Na Jeong-hwan, an analyst at DS Investment & Securities. Unless Washington gives favourable signs about its trade negotiation with Beijing, the market would rangebound, he added.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended down 7.80 points or 0.41 per cent at 1,909.70.

South Korea's policymakers said they stood ready to take steps to curb any herd behaviour in the market and would consider cutting interest rates again if needed.

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Signs that China is stepping in to steady the yuan after its recent sharp fall also helped ease investors' fears of a possible global currency war, though the yuan slipped further in morning trade, keeping markets guessing.

Foreigners were net sellers of 97.7 billion won worth of shares on the main board. The won was quoted at 1,214.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.03 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,215.3. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,214.6 per US dollar, down 0.2 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,213.7 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.08 per cent, after US stocks climbed. Japanese stocks fell 0.33 per cent.

The Kospi has fallen 6.43 per cent so far this year, and lost 9.6 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

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 in the Kospi index was 752.71 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 891, the number of advancing shares was 530.

The won has lost 8.2 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.03 point to 111.33, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.49 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.7 basis point to 1.156 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield was flat at 1.256 per cent.

REUTERS