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Seoul: Stocks, won close at multi-week highs

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index extended gains to close higher on Thursday after jumping more than 1 per cent in the previous session. The Korean won gained further against the dollar and bond yields also rose.

At 0635 GMT, the KOSPI ended 0.25 per cent higher, or by 6.12 points, at 2,486.10, its highest close since March 22.

Market heavyweight shares like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix rose 2.8 per cent and 3.9 per cent, respectively. Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Hyundai Elevator, which are some of the major companies related to North Korea projects in the past, each rose 12.2 per cent and 16.3 per cent as political tensions over the Korean Peninsula largely eased recently.

The won was quoted at 1,061.5 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.68 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,068.7. The currency ended at its highest in two weeks. Optimism among traders ahead of inter-Korean summit next week is boosting the currency, said Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst, Hyundai Futures.

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In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,060.5 per US dollar, up 0.3 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,044.8 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.72 per cent, after the US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.15 per cent.

The KOSPI is up around 0.5 per cent so far this year, and down by 3.25 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 718,263,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 887, the number of advancing shares was 457.

Foreigners were net buyers of 176,849 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has fallen 0.54 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 1,098.4 on February 6 this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.05 points to 107.76. 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 2.205 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.20 per cent.

REUTERS