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Seoul: Won's gain capped by North Korea worries, market cautious


[SEOUL] The South Korean won traded flat early on Monday as tensions following North Korea's missile test offset support from a weaker US dollar.

The won stood at 1,126.3 against the US dollar as of 0232 GMT, up 0.1 per cent compared to the previous close of 1,127.4.

South Korea's military said more analysis was needed to verify North Korea's claim that it achieved technical advancement during Sunday's test-launch of a ballistic missile.

"North Korea issue is capping further gains in the local currency and the market participants are expected to continue cautious trading," said Jung Sung-Yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures.

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The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (Kospi) edged up 0.1 per cent at 2,288.44 points.

Offshore investors were poised to be net sellers, offloading 123.8 billion won (S$154.40 million) worth of Kospi shares near mid-session.

Shares of security software companies listed on the junior Kosdaq Index soared after the spread of malicious ransomware worm around the world.

ESTsoft Corp jumped 30 per cent, the single-day trading limit, hitting its highest since Aug 25, 2016. Ahnlab Inc rose 12 per cent, while Hancom Secure Inc climbed 14 per cent.

South Korea said there have been nine cases of ransomware found in the country so far, but did not provide details on where the cyber attacks were discovered.

Market heavyweight SK Hynix Inc gained more than one per cent.

Decliners outnumbered advancers 446 to 356.

June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.06 point to 109.39.