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Seoul: Stocks, won gain on Sino-US trade war thaw

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index ended higher on Thursday as the Sino-US trade war showed signs of abating. South Korean bond yields dropped, while the currency won gained.

Markets are slowly growing less pessimistic about the chances of a Sino-US trade deal after a slew of news this week pointed to easing tensions between the two powers.

Reuters had reported on Wednesday that Chinese state-owned companies have bought more than 1.5 million tonnes of US soya beans in the first major US soya bean purchases in more than six months.

China appears to be easing its high-tech industrial development push, dubbed "Made in China 2025", which has long irked the United States, amid talks between the two countries to reduce trade tensions.

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At 0633 GMT, the Kospi was up 12.98 points or 0.62 per cent at 2,095.55.

Chinese media reported investment plans of Samsung SDI Co Ltd in Chinese battery industry, sending shares up 4.6 per cent and extending gains to a second session. The company's official said it is still considering its investment and that the size of it has not been finalised.

Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd said it won order worth 211.2 billion won to build one LNG carrier in Oceania region, sending shares 7.7 per cent higher.

Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd closed 3.9 per cent firmer as it won an order worth 68 billion won in South Korea's Defense Acquisition Programme Administration.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co Ltd ended up 2.1 per cent after the company said it has reached its order goals for the year in advance after winning order in South Korea's Defense Acquisition Programme Administration. The company said its total orders of January-December were worth US$13.3 billion.

The won was quoted at 1,123.4 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.45 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,128.5.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,123.03 per US dollar, up 0.07 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,103.05 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.85 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.99 per cent.

The KOSPI is down about 15.6 per cent so far this year, and up by 2.61 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 368,200,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 894, the number of advancing shares was 652.

Foreigners were net buyers of 485,437 million won worth of shares.

The U.S dollar has risen 5.31 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 and low is 1,146.26 on Oct 11.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds slipped 0.01 points to 109.16.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.9 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.795 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.80 per cent.

REUTERS