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Seoul: Stocks, won cheer on Hyundai Motor Group surge, US-China trade hopes

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index buoyed on Wednesday as a surge in the country's biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor and its affiliates boosted investor sentiment.

US-China trade hopes lifted the market after the US President Trump sounded upbeat about a trade deal with China. The Korean won rose while bond yields also rose. Hyundai Motor Co appointed President Albert Biermann as its first foreign head of research and development (R&D) as part of a sweeping reshuffle which helped send the South Korean automaker's shares surging more than 7 per cent on Wednesday.

In an interview with Reuters, US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene in the Justice Department's case against a top executive at China's Huawei Technologies if it would serve national security interests or help close a trade deal with China.

Mr Trump also said that China was buying a "tremendous amount" of US soybeans, and that trade talks with Beijing were already underway by telephone, with more meetings likely among US and Chinese officials. 

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At 02:11 GMT, the Kospi was up 24.70 points or 1.2 per cent at 2,077.67.

Hyundai Motor Group shares jumped after appointment of a new R&D chief. Shares of Hyundai Motor Co rose as much as 8.1 per cent to highest since Oct 11, while its auto parts affiliates Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Wia were trading up 7.6 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. The company's logistics arm Hyundai Glovis also gained 8.8 per cent.

Hydrogen-powered car parts companies surged as Hyundai Motor Co and its suppliers plan to invest US$6.8 billion in research and development and to expand facilities related to fuel cell systems. Iljin Diamond Co Ltd, Neuros Co Ltd, GMB Korea Corp sky-rocketed 22.3 per cent, 14.0 per cent and 13.2 per cent respectively.

The won was quoted at 1,126.8 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.29 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,130.1.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,127.25 per US dollar, up 0.11 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,107.35 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.02 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with losses. Japanese stocks rose 1.95 per cent .

The Kospi is down around 16.8 per cent so far this year, and down by 1.90 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 about 193 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 623.

Foreigners were net sellers of 18.5 billion won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 5.71 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per US 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 fell 0.04 point to 109.18.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.9 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.809 per cent, higher than the previous day's 1.79 per cent.

REUTERS