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Seoul: Stocks, won climb; US-Mexico trade deal cheers sentiment

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index and the won rose on Tuesday as the United States and Mexico agreed to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), cheering investor sentiment.

At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI was up 3.82 points or 0.17 per cent at 2,303.12. While the US-Mexico Nafta deal boosted auto stocks in the US, South Korean carmaker and their suppliers rose. Kia Motors, which has a plant in Mexico, closed up 1.6 per cent, while Hyundai Wia, which has production facilities in Mexico, climbed as much as 7.6 per cent.

The won was quoted at 1,110 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.34 per cent firmer than its previous close of 1,113.8. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,109.49 per US dollar, down 0.15 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being traded at 1,093.35 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.29 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.06 per cent. The Kospi is down around 6.8 per cent so far this year, and up by 0.50 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 273,217,000 shares and, of the total 898 traded issues, the number of advancing shares was 464. Foreigners were net buyers of 142,547 million won worth of shares.

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The US dollar has risen 4.04 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 1,140.4 on July 19. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.03 points to 108.7. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.965 per cent, barely changed from the previous day's 1.97 per cent.

REUTERS