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Seoul: Stocks hit 4-month closing low as trade woes deepen


[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI index on Monday ended at its lowest since Jan 15 on anxiety over whether Washington and Beijing could make headway in their trade talks. The won dropped to its lowest since 2017, while the benchmark bond yield was unchanged.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended down 29.03 points, or 1.38 per cent, at 2,079.01 points. The junior Kosdaq market lost nearly 2 per cent.

The United States and China appeared at a deadlock over trade negotiations as Washington demanded promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing said it would not swallow any "bitter fruit" that harmed its interests.  Foreigners were net sellers of 137.9 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

Deepening the woes in the domestic equity market, the Korean won was quoted at 1,187.5 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.88 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,177.0. The won dropped to its lowest since Jan 11, 2017. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,187.8 per U.S. dollar, down 1.1 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,185.8 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.76 per cent, after U.S. stocks closed firmer. Japanese stocks fell 0.72 per cent.

The Kospi rose 1.86 per cent so far this year, and dropped 1.8 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 494.79 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 893, the number of advancing shares was 142.

The won has lost 6 per cent against the US dollar this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 points to 109.51, while the three-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.84 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield was flat at 1.719 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield was flat at 1.872 per cent.