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Seoul: Stocks, won sag as tech shares fall amid global uncertainties

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index and the won weakened on Friday as trade hopes fade while the European Central Bank (ECB) forecast a slowdown in the euro zone. South Korean bond yields fell. China said on Thursday a Canadian businessman is being investigated on suspicion of harming China's security, days after a former Canadian diplomat was detained in an escalating diplomatic row.

ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday "the balance of risk is moving to the downside owing to the persistence of uncertainties related to geopolitical factors, the threat of protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility."

At 02.11 GMT, the Kospi was down 30.17 points or 1.44 per cent at 2,065.38.

Shares of Samsung BioLogics Co Ltd drop as much as 4.6 per cent after the company said on Thursday its head office has been raided by South Korean prosecutors as part of a criminal probe into alleged accounting fraud. Samsung C&T Corp, which jointly owns 75 per cent in Samsung BioLogics with Samsung Electronics, also edges down 3.6 per cent.

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South Korea's chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix tumbled as brokers lowered the companies' target price.

Lack of CPU supply, cloud server error within and outside the country, and clients expecting price cuts hit the sector, says Pak Yu Ak, an analyst with Kiwoom Securities. Samsung Electronics slid as much as 3.3 per cent, hitting its lowest since stock split in May, while SK Hynix also plunged as much as 5.3 per cent to lowest since August 2017.

The won was quoted at 1,129.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.54 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,123.4.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,130.18 per US dollar, down 0.5 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being asked at 1,109.85 per US dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 1.41 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with losses. Japanese stocks weakened 2.07 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 15.1 per cent so far this year, and up by 3.51 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 224.8 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 889, the number of advancing shares was 217.

Foreigners were net sellers of 120.4 billion won worth of shares. The US dollar has risen 5.98 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per US dollar on April 2 and the low is 1,146.26 on Oct 11. In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.03 point to 109.18.

The Korean three-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.9 per cent, while the benchmark three-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.781 per cent, lower than the previous day's 1.8 per cent.

REUTERS