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Seoul: Stocks, won recover; global tariff tensions weigh on market

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index and the won recovered on Tuesday to close slightly firmer, as overnight gains on Wall Street boosted sentiment amid concerns over escalating trade tensions between the United States and other major economies. Bond yields inched higher.

At 0632 GMT, the Kospi was up 1.22 points, or 0.05 per cent, at 2,272.76, after hitting its lowest at 2,252.36 since May 2017 earlier in the session. The won was quoted at 1,118.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.12 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,120. Tech giant Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix gained 1.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent, respectively, while Samsung BioLogics jumped 3.5 per cent.

Shares of North Korea-related companies such as cement producers and railroad-related firms gained after the White House said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea on Thursday, seeking agreement on plan for the country's denuclearisation. Hyundai Cement and Korea Cement climbed 12.1 per cent and 16.7 per cent respectively, while Daea TI, the company that provides railway signal control systems, jumped 11.9 per cent. 

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,116.56 per US dollar, up 0.12 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,100.45 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.43 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.12 per cent. The Kospi is down around 7.9 per cent so far this year, and down by 7.65 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 360,738,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 888, the number of advancing shares was 411. Foreigners were net buyers of 201,653 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 4.71 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 1,125.17 on June 27, 2018. In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.06 points to 108.04. The South Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.139 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.13 per cent.

REUTERS