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Seoul: Stocks gain, won steps up to over 3-year closing high

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index rose on Tuesday. The Korean won climbed to the highest closing level in more than three years against the US dollar while bond yields fell.

At 0632 GMT, the Kospi was up 12.16 points or 0.49 per cent at 2,479.65. The benchmark index rose on strong foreign purchases.

The won was quoted at 1,061.2 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.88 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,070.5. The currency was boosted by expectations for improved relations on the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang said on Monday it was open to dialogue with the South. Additionally, South Korea's finance minister said on Tuesday the government will take action to stabilise the foreign exchange market if needed.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,060.67 per US dollar, up 0.41 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it traded at 1,054.6 per US dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.03 per cent. 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 (S$1.56 trillion).

The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 230,256,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 879, the number of advancing shares was 498.

Foreigners were net buyers of 130,260 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has fallen 0.87 per cent against the won this year.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.05 points to 107.94. The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was unmoved from its previous close of 1.66 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.122 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.13 per cent.

REUTERS