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Seoul: Won up on Yellen comment, stocks down as focus turns to Trump

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[SEOUL] The South Korean won extended its gains on Friday, benefiting from comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen that were perceived as being less hawkish than some had expected.

The won was quoted at 1,169.2 to the US dollar at the conclusion of onshore trade, up 0.7 per cent compared to Thursday's close of 1,177.6.

In a speech in the early Asian day, Ms Yellen said the US central bank should continue to raise interest rates slowly to keep inflation low and jobs plentiful and avoid harming the recovery the Fed has sought to nurture.

South Korean shares ended lower as investors were cautious ahead of incoming US president Donald Trump's inauguration later in the day.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) closed down 0.4 per cent at 2,065.62 points.

Offshore investors turned net sellers, offloading a net 48.3 billion won (S$58.89 million) worth of Kospi shares.

For the week, the shares dropped 0.5 per cent while the won rose 0.5 per cent, marking a third straight week of gain.


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