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Seoul: Stocks jump on China stimulus hopes

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares jumped over 1.5 per cent on Tuesday to a near six-week closing high, tracking gains in Chinese markets on expectations of more government policy measures to prop up a slowing economy. The won rose while bond yields were unchanged.

China will aim to achieve "a good start" in the first quarter for the economy, the state planner said on Tuesday, signalling authorities could roll out more stimulus measures in the near term to counter slowing growth.

The odds look stacked against British Prime Minister Theresa May winning parliamentary approval for her Brexit deal, which has come under fire from all sides, including eurosceptics, supporters of the EU and the Northern Irish party propping up her minority Conservative government. Voting is expected to start about 1900 GMT on Tuesday.

The Kospi stock index closed 32.66 points, or 1.58 per cent, higher at 2,097.18. Heavyweights Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix gained 2.6 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.

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South Korea's biggest carmaker, Hyundai Motor, climbed nearly 5 per cent, while affiliates Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Glovis rose 3.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively. Seo Sang-young, an analyst with Kiwoom Securities, said South Korea's auto stocks followed their US peers higher, boosted by the Detroit Motor Show.

Shares of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd surged nearly 30 per cent, a record intraday per cent gain, after a Philippine court approved rehabilitation proceedings for the company's local unit, Subic Shipyard.

The won was quoted at 1,120.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.21 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,123.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,120.58 per US dollar, up 0.02 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,103.85 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.29 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with losses. Japanese stocks rose 0.96 per cent.

The Kospi is up around 1.2 per cent so far this year, and down by 2.07 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 432,915,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 897, the number of advancing shares was 572.

Foreigners were net buyers of 120,899 million won worth of shares.

The won's high for the year is 1,113.81 per dollar on Jan 11 and low is 1,130.05 on Jan 3.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 points to 109.32.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.799 per cent, barely changed from the previous day's 1.80 per cent.

REUTERS