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Seoul: Stocks flat as Trump-Xi meeting looms large

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index traded flat on Friday as investors exercised caution ahead of the meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. The Korean won was steady, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

Mr Trump has agreed to no preconditions for his high-stake meeting with Mr Xi this weekend and is maintaining his threat to impose new tariffs on Chinese goods, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said.

Both leaders are expected to meet in Osaka at 0230 GMT on Saturday.

The cautious mood in the market heightened after Mr Trump's remarks suggested two extreme scenarios about the talks, while the index traded within a narrow range, said Na Jong-hwan, an analyst at DS Investment & Securities.

As of 0224 GMT, the main KOSPI was down 4.91 points or 0.23 per cent at 2,129.41 points.

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 246.64 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 886, the number of advancing shares was 215.

The KOSPI has climbed 4.37 per cent so far this year, and gained 2 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.16 per cent, after US stocks rose. Japanese stocks fell 0.38 per cent.

REUTERS