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Seoul: Stocks rise tracking Wall Street on trade optimism; won steady

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index rose 9.46 points, or 0.45 per cent, to 2,091.30 on Wednesday, in line with Wall Street gains on trade optimism.

Stocks of South Korean firms that operate duty-free stores in Seoul fell as the government decided to issue additional licences to operate duty-free stores in Seoul.

Foreigners were net sellers of 18.3 billion won worth of shares on the mainboard.

The KOSPI has risen 2.46 per cent so far this year, and fell 2.7 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.

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Trading volume during the session on the KOSPI was 268.64 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 579.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.34 per cent, after US stocks bounced back overnight. Japanese stocks fell 0.08 per cent.

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had a "very good" dialogue with China and insisted talks between the world's two largest economies had not collapsed.

This comes after the world's two biggest economies exchanged some hopeful remarks on Tuesday. China's State Councillor Wang Yi said the two countries have the "ability and wisdom" to reach a trade deal that is good for both, while Mr Trump said he has "a feeling it's going to be very successful".

South Korea's April employment data revealed signs of weakening recovery amid increased uncertainties in the economy such as US-China trade conflict and sluggish exports. The country's unemployment rate rose to a three-month high in April as jobs were shed in the manufacturing and construction sectors, adding pressure to President Moon Jae-in to do more to boost employment.

 

Meanwhile, the Korean won remained steady, while the benchmark bond yields fell.

The won was quoted at 1,189.4 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, steady from its previous close at 1,189.4.

The currency has been showing signs of increased volatility hurt by US-China trade dispute and sluggish exports. South Korea's Finance Minister Hong said on Wednesday that the government is monitoring any unusual movements or whether herd behaviours are seen in the currency market and said it will respond to any signs of her behaviours.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,189.4 per US dollar, down 0.2 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,187.1 per dollar.

The won has lost 6.2 per cent against the US dollar this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.03 points to 109.58.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.3 basis points to 1.708 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 0.9 basis points to 1.860 per cent.

REUTERS