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Seoul: Stocks flat amid global uncertainties; won slumps to 2-week low

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended nearly flat on Tuesday as sharp gains in Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd on resumption of trade offset losses caused by external uncertainties, including Brexit vote delay, and global growth concerns. The Korean won fall to two-week low while bond yields also fell.

The Kospi closed down 0.82 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 2,052.97, ending in the negative territory for a second straight session.

Biotech drug firm Samsung BioLogics resumed trading after the main stock exchange decided on Monday that the company is qualified to continue trading on the bourse. The stock jumped 17.8 per cent, while Samsung C&T Corp, which co-owns Samsung BioLogics with tech giant Samsung Electronics , closed up 3.4 per cent.

North Korea-related shares dropped after the United States imposed sanctions on three North Korean officials, including a top aide to leader Kim Jong Un. Concrete firm SG Co Ltd and automation system company Puloon Technology Inc closed down 8.6 per cent and 5.4 per cent, respectively.

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Celltrion Inc ended down 10 per cent after TV network YTN reported the financial regulator is reviewing allegation that the drugmaker's unit Celltrion Healthcare violated accounting rules. An official at the Financial Supervisory Service, South Korea's financial watchdog, declined to comment on the report. Celltrion's other units Celltrion Healthcare and Celltrion Pharm Inc fell 12.0 per cent and 7.9 per cent, respectively.

Ananti Inc surged 26.8 per cent after the company said it planned to hire veteran US investor Jim Rogers as a non-executive director for three years. Ananti owns a private golf and spa resort in Mountain Kumgang, located in North Korea, which has stopped operating since 2008. The decision will be made after a general meeting of shareholders on Dec. 27.

The won was quoted at 1,130.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.32 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,126.5, hitting its lowest since Nov 28.

The Brexit vote delay boosted the dollar which led the won decline, said Lee Won, an analyst with Bokook Securities.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,129.17 per US dollar, down 0.16 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,110.25 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.07 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.34 per cent.

The KOSPI is down around 16.8 per cent so far this year, and down by 2.89 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 267,011,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 897, the number of advancing shares was 254.

Foreigners were net sellers of 192,407 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.89 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 1,146.26 on Oct 11.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 points to 109.22.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.9 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.791 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.80 per cent.

REUTERS