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Seoul: Stocks rise on US-Mexico trade deal; won steady

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index rose slightly on Wednesday on positive sentiment about the US-Mexico trade deal, but concerns over the Sino-US tariff war capped gains. The South Korean won was flat while bond yields fell. At 06.30 GMT, the KOSPI was up 5.91 points or 0.26 per cent at 2,309.03. Dongkuk Steel Mill ended 15 per cent higher on expectations of rising demand for steel plate.

Shares of Woongjin added 14.4 per cent as the company seeks to take over Coway, in cooperation with local private equity firm Stic Investment. Remarks by the US Defense Secretary hit South Korean construction stocks exposed to the North, such as Namkwang Engineering & Construction and Bumyang Construction , which lost 2.9 per cent each.

The won was quoted at 1,110.2 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.02 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,110. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,110.68 per US dollar, down 0.31 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,094.65 per dollar. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.11 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.15 per cent. The KOSPI is down around 6.7 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.05 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 252,045,000 shares and, of the total 898 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 423. Foreigners were net buyers of 120,624 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 4.16 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 0.05 points to 108.77. 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 1.949 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.97 per cent.