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Seoul: Stocks gain for 13th consecutive session; foreigners buy

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended higher for the 13th consecutive session, trimming its losses in early trading, as foreigners lapped up shares. The Korean won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended up 5.75 points, or 0.26 per cent, to 2,248.63 points. Foreigners were net buyers of 154.3 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

Though a 12-day winning streak weighed on the market, Kospi gained for 13th straight session as foreigners kept buying, said Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities, adding it's time to check on key indexes to see they satisfy market consensus.

China is set to release its first-quarter GDP data on Wednesday, while analysts see the economy to have grown 6.3 per cent from a year earlier slightly slower than previous quarter.

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Shares of Asiana Airlines extended rally by closing up 16 per cent on optimism over takeover deal. The debt-laden carrier's creditors are working on a financial support plan after its top shareholder said it will sell its entire stake in Asiana.

Shares of SK Networks, a unit of SK Group and owner of a hotel in Seoul, added 7.5 per cent as investors see the conglomerate's possible takeover of Asiana could improve the unit's business.

The won was quoted at 1,135.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.23 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,133.1.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,135.6 per US dollar, down 0.1 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,134.4 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.33 per cent, after US stocks closed down. Japanese stocks rose 0.24 per cent.

The Kospi has risen 10.17 per cent so far this year, and rose 2.4 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

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 561.43 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 895, the number of advancing shares was 345.

The won has lost 1.8 per cent against the US dollar this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.01 points to 109.40, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.4 basis points to 1.765 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 0.1 basis points to 1.928 per cent.

REUTERS