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Seoul: Stocks fall on dim economic growth outlook; won bows to strong dollar

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index tumbled on Wednesday after the country on Wednesday cut its economic growth forecast for this year, citing a feeble labour market recovery and global trade tensions. The won touched its lowest since October 2017 as a bullish outlook from the head of the US central bank buoyed the dollar. South Korean bond yields were barely changed. At 06:32 GMT, the Kospi was down 7.81 points or 0.34 per cent at 2,290.11.

Korea Aerospace Industries plunged 9.3 per cent after the Marine Corps said a military helicopter developed by the company crashed during a test flight on Tuesday in the southeastern city of Pohang, killing five people and injuring one.

The won was quoted at 1,132.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.72 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,124.1. The currency marked the lowest close since October 2017.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,131.71 per US dollar, down 0.51 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,115.75 per dollar. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.07 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.43 per cent.

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The KOSPI is down around 6.9 per cent so far this year, and down by 5.78 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 395,774,000 shares and, of the total 892 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 187. Foreigners were net buyers of 92,393 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 6.13 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and low is 1,133.98 on July 13. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 points to 108.16. 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 2.095 per cent, barely changed from the previous day's 2.10 per cent.

REUTERS