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Seoul: Stocks, won rise as Italy woes ease; North Korea-US talks in focus

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index and the won recovered from the previous session's falls and closed higher on Thursday as political worries sparked by Italy receded. Market players also focussed on ongoing talks between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and high-ranking North Korean official Kim Yong Chol before an unprecedented summit between their two leaders.

At 0633 GMT, the KOSPI was up 13.98 points, or 0.58 per cent, at 2,423.01. For the month, the benchmark stock index fell 3.7 per cent, its biggest monthly percentage drop in three months.

The won was quoted at 1,077.7 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.3 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,080.9. The currency shed 0.9 per cent on a monthly basis, the biggest monthly percentage loss since February. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,076.58 per US dollar, down 0.07 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,060.45 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.72 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks rose 0.83 per cent. The Kospi is down around 2.4 per cent so far this year, and down by 1.88 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 763,555,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 886, the number of advancing shares was 531.

Foreigners were net sellers of 352,243 million won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 0.96 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 Feb 6, 2018. In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 107.91.

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 2.188 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.19 per cent.

REUTERS

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