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Seoul: Stocks gain as trade war concerns ease, won edges up

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index and the won rose on Thursday amid easing investor concerns about the impact of the Sino-US trade war. Samsung Electronics led the gains, while Samsung Biologics Co got a boost after the financial regulator unveiled revised accounting guidelines for the sector.

While the three-day inter-Korean summit came to an end on Thursday, senior credit officer at Moody Investors Service said "the third inter-Korean summit supports our view that ongoing developments through 2018 have significantly lowered tensions and the probability of military conflict on the peninsula", adding uncertainties remain as "a permanent peace settlement remains unlikely in the foreseeable future, in the context of uncertainties in the bilateral relations between the United States and North Korea".

At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI ended up 14.99 points or 0.65 per cent at 2,323.45, marking its highest close since Sept 14. The won was quoted at 1,120.4 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.06 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,121.1, extending gains to a third consecutive session. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,120.92 per US dollar, down 0.27 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,103 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.10 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.01 per cent. The KOSPI is down around 6.4 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.36 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.

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The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 283,961,000 shares and, of the total 896 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 307. Foreigners were net buyers of 308,404 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 5.12 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and the low is 1,140.4 on July 19.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.13 points to 108.26. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.026 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.99 per cent.

REUTERS