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Seoul: Stocks tick up as carmakers shares rise; won edges down

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index rose on Tuesday, lifted by gains in carmakers shares, while investors remained cautious over US President Donald Trump's fresh remarks on the US-China trade spat. The South Korean won and bond yields fell.

South Korea's consumer sentiment dived to a near two-year low this month while inflation expectations fell to their lowest since August 2016, a central bank survey showed on Tuesday, shortly before its policy review to be held on Friday.

At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI was up 16.40 points or 0.79 per cent at 2,099.42.

Although Kospi was wary over Mr Trump's remark, it edged up during the day as auto shares led gains, says Kim Ye-eun, an analyst at IBK Investment & Securities.

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Mr Trump said on Monday, in an interview to The Wall Street Journal, that he expects to move ahead with raising tariffs on US$200 billion in Chinese imports to 25 per cent from 10 per cent currently, withdrawing previous remarks that he may not impose more tariffs on Chinese goods.

Hyundai Motor and its affiliates leaped over hopes that the restructuring of U.S. carmaker General Motors Co could help ease competition in the industry. Hyundai Motor closed up 6.2 per cent, while its affiliate Hyundai Wia and its partmaker Mando also ended 6.5 per cent and 8.1 per cent higher, respectively.

The won was quoted at 1,129.4 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.04 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,128.9.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,128.53 per U.S. dollar, up 0.02 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,108.85 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.10 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.64 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 15.6 per cent so far this year, and up by 2.89 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 235,145,000 shares and, of the total 895 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 501.

Foreigners were net buyers of 195,094 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.83 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 0.04 point to 108.92.

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 1.91 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.91 per cent.

REUTERS