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Seoul: Stocks hit near 3-month closing high; won edges up

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index ended at nearly three-month high on Monday and Korean won strengthened against the dollar in the local platform.

Overall market sentiment largely improved as Friday's summit between the leaders of the two Koreas led to talks with the United States about complete denuclearizaion in the Korean peninsula.

At 0632 GMT, the KOSPI was up 22.98 points or 0.92 per cent at 2,515.38. It was the highest closing level since Feb 2.  Shares of South Korean construction firms, train and steel manufacturers soared on Monday. Train manufacturer Hyundai Rotem jumped 29.9 per cent, while builders such as Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co Ltd surged 26.2 per cent. Steelmaker Posco gained 6.1 per cent.  The won was quoted at 1,068 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.81 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,076.6.

South Korea's financial markets will be closed on Tuesday for national holiday. Trading will resume at normal hours on May 2. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,067.9 per US dollar, down 0.11 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,051.25 per dollar. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.01 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains.

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The KOSPI is up around 1.0 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.06 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. The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 740,489,000 shares, and, of the total traded issues of 881, the number of advancing shares was 509.

Foreigners were net buyers of 242,567 million won worth of shares.  The US dollar has risen 0.14 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2, 2018, and low is 1,098.4 on Feb 6 this year. In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.02 points to 107.74. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.214 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.20 per cent.

REUTERS