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Seoul: Stocks track Wall Street; won gains ahead of BOK meet

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended higher on Wednesday tracking Wall Street as upbeat US earnings boosted investor sentiment. The won edged higher while bond yields fell.

The Kospi closed 22.39 points or 1.04 per cent higher at 2,167.51.

South Korean stocks edged up along with US stocks as the downturn seemed to calm down. However, US Treasury rates remaining at 3.16 per cent is still putting pressure on South Korea's stock market, says Huh Jae-hwan, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.

Shares of Samsung Biologics Co Ltd ended 3.7 per cent down after a local media report that the financial watchdog will take disciplinary measure against the drugmaker. Financial Supervisory Service has reportedly concluded that the company violated accounting rules.

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While Netflix Inc rose 12 per cent after the close as its results far outstripped market expectations with 7 million streaming customers added, South Korean drama production company Studio Dragon Corp and Jcontentree Corp jumped 8.3 per cent and 5.2 per cent, respectively.

The won was quoted at 1,126.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.13 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,128, ahead of Bank of Korea's monetary policy meeting on Thursday, with some expecting it to keep benchmark rate steady to 1.50 per cent.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,126.46 per US dollar, down 0.3 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,108.7 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.54 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 1.29 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 13.1 per cent so far this year, and down by 6.86 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 266,396,000 shares and, of the total 898 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 643.

Foreigners were net buyers of 6,068 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.64 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and the low is 1,146.26 on Oct. 11.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.1 points to 108.44.

The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.68 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.026 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.05 per cent.

REUTERS