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Seoul: Stocks slip on persistent trade concerns, won gains

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index dropped on Thursday snapping its two-session of gains, as concerns linger over Sino-US trade row. The South Korean won rose against dollar in line with Asian currencies, while bond yields rose. ** At 06:31 GMT, the KOSPI was down 5.23 points, or 0.26 per cent, at 2,024.46.

Gains in Chinese stocks would boost the investor sentiment but the impact will be limited, said Ha In-hwan, an analyst at SK Securities, taking a conservative view on the Sino-US trade spat despite U.S. President Donald Trump's optimistic remark about trade.

Celltrion, South Korea's top drug maker, closed up 4.6 per cent after it announced plans to repurchase stocks worth 97.88 billion won. South Korea saw multiple economic figures on Thursday which gave mixed signals about economy — factory activity expanded at a slower pace from previous month, IHS Markit survey showed, while exports data beat estimates. Both data indicated emerging impacts of an intensifying trade war between China and the United States.

South Korea's October headline inflation picked up but the core CPI index plunged to nearly 19-year low. The won was quoted at 1,138.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.13 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,139.6.

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In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,138.13 per US dollar, up 0.25 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,118.35 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.68 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks weakened 1.06 per cent. The KOSPI is down around 17.7 per cent so far this year, and down by 11.09 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 337,911,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 897, the number of advancing shares was 589. ** Foreigners were net buyers of 211,129 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 6.73 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and low is 1,146.26 on Oct. 11. In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 points to 108.73.

The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.7 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.945 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.94 per cent.

REUTERS