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Seoul: Stocks rise after White House confirms Trump-Xi meeting schedule

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index gained on Thursday after the White House confirmed the schedule of much-anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Korean won was steady against the dollar, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

As of 0222 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI rose 12.68 points or 0.60 per cent to 2,134.53.

The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 280.31 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 436.

Mr Trump is set to meet with Mr Xi in Osaka at 11.30am (0230 GMT) on Saturday, a White House spokesman told reporters on Wednesday. The bilateral meeting in Japan aims at heading off a ratcheting up of US tariffs on imports of consumer and other goods from China.

The KOSPI rose on optimism over the talks, though it would be difficult to nail down a final deal, said Kim Ji-hyung, an analyst from Hanyang Securities.

The best scenario of the outcome would be maintaining the status-quo, Mr Kim added.

The KOSPI has risen 4.49 per cent so far this year, and gained 1.9 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.

South Korea's Woongjin Group said it would sell a 25.08 per cent stake in water purifier rental firm Woongjin Coway, just three months after the group regained control of the unit for 1.89 billion won (S$2.2 million). Woongjin shares fell 15.6 per cent, while Woongjin Thinkbig gains 4.9 per cent.

South Korea's largest association of trading firms on Thursday sharply downgraded its forecast for this year's exports to a steep fall from a modest gain, blaming the US-China trade standoff for the grim outlook.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.52 per cent, after US stocks were mixed. Japanese stocks rose 0.70 per cent.

Foreigners were net buyers of 115.6 billion won (S$135 million) worth of shares on the mainboard.

The won was quoted at 1,156.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.01 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,156.6. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,156.0 per US dollar, down 0.2 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract was quoted at 1,154.8 per dollar.

The won has lost 3.5 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.05 points to 110.33, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.78 per cent.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.6 basis points to 1.492 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 0.1 basis points to 1.609 per cent.