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Seoul: Won, stocks subdued as North Korea worries offset Wall Street records

[SEOUL] The South Korean won and shares struggled for traction on Wednesday as lingering worries over tensions between the United States and North Korea offset the global "feel good" factor from another record day on Wall Street.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the UN sanctions on North Korea agreed this week were a small step and nothing compared to what would have to happen to deal with the country's nuclear program.

The won was at 1,126.7 to the US dollar by 0236 GMT, up 0.2 per cent from Tuesday's close of 1,128.5.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) inched up 0.1 per cent to 2,368.25 points.

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"Investors think that North Korea risks still could crop up at any time, which is capping additional monetary inflow into local financial markets and holding the won at around the 1,130 level," said Ha Keon Hyeong, a foreign exchange analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.

While the won was largely listless now, it could get some direction from economic data from China and the United States later this week, he said.

While declining issues outnumbered advancing ones in Seoul bourse, electric vehicle-related shares were strong as fast growth in EV demand was expected.

South Korean EV parts company Hanon Systems rose over 6 per cent to a one-year high.

EV battery makers Samsung SDI gained as much as 4.3 per cent while LG Chem jumped over 5 per cent to its highest since late Feb of 2012, marking biggest daily pct gain in more than a year.

Foreign investors were set to be net sellers of the Kospi shares, offloading 20.1 billion Korean won (S$23.92 million) worth near mid-session.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.01 point to 109.34.

REUTERS

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