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Seoul: Stocks slide on Wall Street fall; won flat

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index weakened on Wednesday. The South Korean won was almost unchanged, while bond yields fell. At 0632 GMT, the KOSPI was down 32.77 points, or 1.34 per cent, at 2,419.29. The benchmark index was weighed down by losses in US stock markets. South Korea's market heavyweight Samsung Electronics fell 2.6 per cent, while shares of steelmakers mostly declined with the sub-index for iron, steel and metal down 2.2 per cent.

Car shares were mixed after a local media report that Hyundai Mobis Co Ltd, a key firm within the Hyundai Motor Group, will become a holding company. Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Glovis rose 6.7 per cent and 10.2 per cent, respectively, while Hyundai Motor lost 1.6 per cent.

The won was quoted at 1,070.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.05 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,070.3. The currency moved wildly during the session after the United States earlier said that Seoul and Washington had currency side deal when revising the existing trade pact.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's visit to China also affected the won's movement during the session as it signalled easing tensions within the Korean peninsula.

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In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,070.09 per US dollar, up 0.38 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,058.45 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.33 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with losses. Japanese stocks weakened 1.34 per cent.

The KOSPI is down around 0.6 per cent so far this year, and down by 1.85 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 494,987,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 886, the number of advancing shares was 245.

Foreigners were net sellers of 254,326 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 0.35 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,056.67 per dollar on Jan 14, 2018 and low is 1,098.4 on Feb 6, 2018.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.06 points to 107.69. 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 2.216 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.23 per cent.

REUTERS