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Seoul: Stocks trim gains amid Brexit uncertainty

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index closed marginally higher on Friday, trimming the session's early gains, amid uncertainty over Britain's planned exit from the European Union. The Korean won was steady against dollar, while bond yields rose.

At 0631 GMT, the Kospi closed up 4.34 points or 0.21 per cent at 2,092.40. On a weekly basis, the main index climbed 0.2 per cent. There has been chain of favourable reports on Sino-US trade conflict, but the index's increase has been limited by Brexit uncertainty, which has also boosted the dollar, said Noh Dong-kil of Shinhan Investment.

Firms related to Korean Air Lines's parent company, Hanjin Group, closed higher as a private equity fund's acquisition of its stake brought cheer to investors, boosting hopes of better corporate governance. Hanjin Transportation and Hanjin Kal added 21 per cent and 14.6 per cent, respectively.

The won was quoted at 1,128.5 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.06 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,129.2. For a week, the won inched up 0.06 per cent. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,128.72 per US dollar, down 0.16 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,109.25 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.08 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.57 per cent. The Kospi is down around 15.4 per cent so far this year, and down by 9.59 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 294,132,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 894, the number of advancing shares was 564. Foreigners were net sellers of 20,796 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 5.85 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 October 11 2018.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.02 points to 108.72. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.7 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.951 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.94 per cent.

REUTERS