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Seoul: Stocks hampered by slowing corporate earnings

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index edged up for the fifth consecutive session on Thursday, though growing optimism of a Sino-US trade deal to end a months-long tariff dispute was offset by expectations for tepid first quarter corporate earnings. The Korean won weakened, and the benchmark bond yield fell.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi rose 3.26 points or 0.15 per cent to 2,206.53 points.

South Korean stocks are relatively less attractive to foreigners compared with other emerging countries such as China due to fast-slowing earnings including for major semiconductor companies, said Ko Seung-hee, an analyst from Mirae Asset Daewoo.

The odds are stacked against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd ahead of the release of its first-quarter earnings guidance on Friday, with memory chip prices falling and its pricey premium smartphones struggling to be profitable.

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Foreigners were net buyers of 240.1 billion won worth of shares on the main board. The won was quoted at 1,136.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.18 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,134.3. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,135.9 per US dollar, down 0.2 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,134.9 per dollar. 

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.38 per cent. Japanese stocks rose 0.05 percent. The Kospi has risen 8.11 per cent so far this year, and fell 0.1 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 425.46 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 896, the number of advancing shares was 429.

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

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.02 point to 109.59, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.87 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.2 basis point to 1.722 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 1.3 basis points to 1.876 per cent. 

REUTERS