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Seoul: Won, stocks take breather ahead of Yellen's speech

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won advanced on local exporters' demand on Friday, but gains were capped as traders looked ahead to a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with all eyes on a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

The won was quoted at 1,114.2 against the US dollar as of 0200 GMT, up 0.2 per cent versus its previous close.

"Trading is expected to be mixed throughout the session on exporters' dollar sales and caution over a US interest rate hike in the near-term," said Jung Sung Yoon, an analyst at Hyundai Futures.

South Korean shares sagged for a third session but like the won, trading was subdued ahead of Ms Yellen's speech later in the day at the annual gathering of central bankers. The focus is on whether Ms Yellen could provide more clarity on US rates outlook for the rest of the year.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) was down 0.3 per cent at 2,037.05 points.

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Foreign investors sold a net 1.5 billion won (S$1.83 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session, while retail investors snapped up 3.3 billion won worth of stock.

Decliners far outnumbered advancers 497 to 289.

Lotte Group related shares were mixed as investors pondered news of that a vice chairman was found dead early on Friday amid a sweeping criminal probe into the business.

Lotte Shopping was up 0.3 per cent and Lotte Food slipped 0.7 per cent.

The Kospi 200 benchmark of core stocks was down 0.4 per cent, while the junior Kosdaq also edged 0.4 per cent lower.

September futures on three-year treasury bonds ticked down 0.02 point to trade at 111.01.


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