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Seoul: Stocks, won jump on firm US job data, dovish Fed comments


[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index rose on Monday as strong job data from the United States and dovish comments from Federal Reserve chief soothed concerns over global outlook, amid an expected meeting US and Chinese officials for trade negotiations later in the day. South Korean won also rose, while bond yields remained largely unchanged.

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that trade talks with China were going very well and that weakness in the Chinese economy gave Beijing a reason to work toward a deal.

At 0630 GMT, the Kospi closed up 26.85 points, or 1.34 per cent, at 2,037.10.

South Korean shares with exposure to North Korea gained after US President Donald Trump said the United States is "negotiating a location" for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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Shares of jewellery maker J.Estina Co Ltd and textile company Shinwon Corp, which have a branch in Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, closed up 8.5 per cent and 4.0 per cent, respectively.

Dongbu Steel Co Ltd's stock surged nearly 30 per cent after local media report over its top shareholder Korea Development Bank's plan on stake sale. Dongbu Steel said in a regulatory filing that it has no plan on top shareholder's stake sale, while it plans to issue new shares to for new investment and transfer of management control.

The country's toy maker Sonokong Co Ltd jumped 10.2 per cent after its top shareholder Mattel Inc on Sunday announced its worldwide licensing agreement with K-pop boy band BTS. Mattel will launch a BTS-inspired toy line, including dolls, collectible figures and games.

The won was quoted at 1,118.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.53 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,124.5.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,117.85 per US dollar, down 0.18 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,101.45 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.35 per cent, after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 2.44 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 1.5 per cent so far this year, and down by 3.47 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 428,010,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 898, the number of advancing shares was 649.

Foreigners were net buyers of 55,809 million won worth of shares.

The currency won's high for the year is 1,114.7 per dollar on Jan 2, 2019 and low is 1,130.05 on Jan 3, 2019.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.02 points to 109.31.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.803 per cent, barely changed from the previous day's 1.80 per cent.