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Seoul: Stocks, won give up earlier gains

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index reversed its gains on Tuesday. The Korean won ended higher against the dollar though it gave up some of its earlier gains.

Investor focus seems to have moved to new Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell's US Congressional testimony after the Bank of Korea held interest rates with no surprise comments.

At 0630 GMT, the KOSPI was down 1.51 points or 0.06 per cent at 2,456.14. The won was quoted at 1,071.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.2 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,073.4.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,070.81 per US dollar, down 0.11 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,060.45 per dollar. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.15 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 1.07 per cent.

The KOSPI is down around 0.4 per cent so far this year, and down by 1.22 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 267,033,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 882, the number of advancing shares was 295.

Foreigners were net sellers of 1,620 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 0.42 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,056.67 per dollar on January 14 2018 and low is 1,098.4 on February 6 2018.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.02 points to 107.77. The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond was yielding 2.256 per cent versus the previous day's 2.26 per cent.