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Seoul: Stocks rise on hopes for US-China talks; won down

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index rose on Thursday as investors hoped for a good outcome after US and Chinese officials met on Wednesday for trade talks.

However, the Korean won edged lower as a deadline loomed for fresh US tariffs on China. Bond yields also fell.

US and Chinese officials met for the first time in over two months to find a way out of their deepening trade conflict, but there was no evidence the discussions would halt a new round of US tariffs due Thursday.

At 01:21 GMT, the Kospi was up 4.48 points or 0.20 per cent at 2,277.81. South Korean firms with China exposure gained on expectations of lifting a boycott on South Korean businesses and tourism, after a local media outlet reported that the Chinese government allowed some Chinese tour agencies based in Shanghai to sell South Korea tour packages. South Korean casino companies Paradise Co Ltd and Grand Korea Leisure Co Ltd rose 4.2 per cent and 1.8 per cent, respectively, while companies engaged in duty free business such as Hotel Shilla Co Ltd and Shinsegae Inc soar 5.5 per cent and 8.5 per cent each. Shares of South Korea's cosmetic brands also jumped.

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The won was quoted at 1,120.1 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.11 per cent weaker than its previous close of 1,118.9. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,119.69 per US dollar, down 0.26 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,102.85 per dollar. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.04 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks rose 0.26 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 7.9 per cent so far this year, and down by 0.91 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 93,138,000 shares and, of the total 887 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 439.

Foreigners were net buyers of 29,316 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and the low is 1,140.4 on July 19. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 108.71. The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.955 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.96 per cent.

REUTERS