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Seoul: Stocks slip as oil extends fall; won gains ahead of Fed chief's testimony

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index weakened on Tuesday as crude oil prices extended falls, while the won rose ahead of Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell's first congressional testimony. Bond yields rose. At 06:30 GMT, the Kospi was down 4.07 points, or 0.18 per cent, at 2,297.92. The sub-index for chemicals dropped 1.6 per cent with LG Chem and Lotte Chemical shedding 2 per cent and 3.5 per cent, respectively.

Asiana Airlines jumped 22.9 per cent in intraday trade after a local media outlet reported that domestic conglomerate SK Group was considering a takeover. The stock cut its gains and closed 3 per cent higher after the conglomerate's holding firm, SK Holdings, said in a regulatory filing that it was not considering buying the airline.

Cryptocurrency shares skyrocketed after BlackRock chief executive Larry Fink said on Monday that the world's largest asset manager had assembled a working group to look at blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Venture capital company Woori Technology Investment surged 29.2 per cent, while SCI Information Service, which provides credit information services, jumped 22.2 per cent. 

The won was quoted at 1,124.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.45 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,129.2. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,123.14 per US dollar, up 0.4 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,107.35 per dollar. 

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.37 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with losses. Japanese stocks rose 0.44 per cent. The KOSPI is down around 6.7 per cent so far this year, and down by 4.99 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 365,351,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 891, the number of advancing shares was 332. Foreigners were net sellers of 138,479 million won worth of shares. 

The US dollar has risen 5.33 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2, 2018 and low is 1,133.98 on July 13, 2018. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.01 points to 108.16. 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 2.093 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.09 per cent.

REUTERS