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Seoul: Stocks fall to 3-month low; won ends at over 2 1/2-year high

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index skidded to a three-month low on Tuesday. The Korean won rose to the highest closing since April 2015, while bond yields fell.

At 0631 GMT, the KOSPI was down 13.20 points or 0.54 per cent at 2,427.34. South Korean markets were closed on Monday for the Christmas Day public holiday. The benchmark index fell as individual investors sold major IT shares such as Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. A cause of the selling were domestic media reports on sales of Apple's Iphone X sales, said Lee Kyung-min, a stock analyst at Daishin Securities.

The won was quoted at 1,076.1 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.33 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,079.7. The currency was buoyed by foreign demand amid thin trading.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,075.29 per US dollar, up 0.03 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,067.25 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.18 per cent. Japanese stocks weakened 0.2 per cent.

The KOSPI is up around 20.4 per cent so far this year, and down by 4.03 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 221,895,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 880, the number of advancing shares was 460.

Foreigners were net buyers of 15,812 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has fallen 10.86 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,074.76 per dollar on Dec 25, 2017 and low is 1,211.8 on Jan 3, 2017.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 points to 107.95. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was unchanged from its previous close of 1.66 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.127 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.13 per cent.

REUTERS