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Seoul: Stocks steady; won edges up

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index closed flat on Tuesday as global uncertainties capped gains during the day. The South Korean won rose while bond yields fell.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the Brexit deal was still achievable, even as a top European Union official said chances of a no-deal divorce had increased; US President Donald Trump sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia as journalist Jamal Khashoggi's case threatened to strain relationship between the strategic allies.

South Korea's central bank is broadly expected to keep its benchmark rate steady to 1.50 per cent at its policy meeting on Thursday but could signal a possible tightening in November, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

The Kospi closed unchanged at 2,145.12.

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While the sharp decline from last Thursday is continuing, the US Treasury rates, which is currently at 3.1 per cent, will not likely fall in a short period. Under this situation, China stocks falling ahead of the US report on foreign exchange affected the Kospi index, said Park Sang-hyun, an analyst at Leading Investment & Securities.

The won was quoted at 1,128 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.56 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,134.3. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,128.1 per US dollar, up 0.24 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,110.2 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.07 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks rose 1.25 per cent. The Kospi is down around 13.1 per cent so far this year, and down by 6.71 per cent in the past 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 215,108,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 900, the number of advancing shares was 566. Foreigners were net sellers of 65,904 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.79 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 1,146.26 on Oct 11, 2018.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.05 points to 108.33. The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.68 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.045 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.05 per cent.

REUTERS