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Seoul: Stocks skid to near 3-month low on foreign sell-off, won edges down

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index marked its biggest daily percentage drop since July on Thursday. The Korean won fell and bond yields fell. At 0633 GMT, the Kospi was down 42.54 points or 1.72 per cent at 2,429.83.

The benchmark index was hit by a late selloff by foreign investors who took profits on market expectations the operating profits of Kospi companies would fall 5.6 per cent in the fourth-quarter from the previous quarter, said Seo Sang Young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities in a note. Investors were also worried that global investment would now mainly focused on the United States following the country's tax cuts.

The won was quoted at 1,082.7 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.17 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,080.9. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,081.24 per US dollar, down 0.17 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,073.45 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.16 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks weakened 0.11 per cent. The Kospi is up around 22 per cent so far this year, and down by 3.14 per cent in the previous 30 days.

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The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28 percent and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won.

The trading volume during the session on the Kospi index was 244,206,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 880, the number of advancing shares was 180.

Foreigners were net sellers of 326,607 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has fallen 10.36 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,075.71 per US dollar on Nov 29, 2017 and low is 1,211.8 on Jan 3, 2017.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.06 points to 108.03. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.66 per cent, unchanged from its previous close, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.096 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.10 per cent.

REUTERS