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Seoul: Stocks pare early losses; Powell speech eyed

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[SEOUL] South Korean shares pared losses to close slightly lower on Friday, but ended the week with a gain of over 1 per cent. The won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield rose. Investors now await Fed chair Jerome Powell's speech at Jackson Hole.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi fell 2.71 points or 0.14 per cent to 1,948.30.

South Korea unexpectedly decided to end the intelligence sharing pact with Japan, and now Japan's response will be a key point on how the market will move next week, said Lee Won, an analyst at Bookook Securities.

However, South Korea will share intelligence with Japan through a three-way channel involving the United States, despite the decision to scrap a pact with its neighbour, a senior official of the presidential Blue House said on Friday.

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Foreigners were net buyers of 8.2 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

The won was quoted at 1,210.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.26 per cent lower than its previous close at 1,207.4.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,210.5 per U.S. dollar, down 0.1 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract was quoted at 1,209.6 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.25 per cent. Japanese stocks rose 0.40 per cent.

The Kospi has fallen 4.54 per cent so far this year, and lost 5.2 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.

Trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 365.60 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 893, the number of advancing shares was 245.

The won has lost 7.8 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.15 points to 111.17, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.49 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 5.1 basis points to 1.181 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 4.2 basis points to 1.271 per cent. 

REUTERS