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S.Korea: Stocks edge higher on bargain hunting; down 0.8 pct for week

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[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index edged higher on Friday on bargain hunting after losses in the previous session, though gains were limited by foreigners' sell-off. The Korean won held steady while the benchmark bond yield rose.

The Seoul stock market's main Kospi ended up 2.38 points or 0.11 per cent to 2,216.15.

South Korea's biggest drugmaker Celltrion and its affiliates, Celltrion HealthCare and Celltrion Pharm , jumped in expectation of improved profitability as the company begins to produce new biosimilar medication, Remsima SC.

For the week, the Kospi lost 0.76 per cent, snapping two weeks of gains.

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Foreigners were net sellers of 58.1 billion won (US$51.15 million) worth of shares on the main board, while local institutions and individual investors were net buyers of a total 55.1 billion won worth of stocks.

The won was quoted at 1,136.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, steady from its previous close at 1,136.9. On a weekly basis, the currency added 0.2 per cent.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,136.6 per U.S. dollar, unchanged from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,135.3 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.03 per cent, after US stocks closed higher on brisk retail data. Japanese stocks rose 0.50 per cent.

The Kospi has risen 8.59 per cent so far this year, and gained 2.2 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

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 515.70 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 894, the number of advancing shares was 523.

The won has lost 1.9 per cent against the US dollar this year.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.04 points to 109.43, while the three-month certificate of deposit rate was quoted at 1.86 per cent.

The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose 1.3 basis points to 1.753 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield increased 0.7 basis points to 1.899 per cent. (US$1 = 1,135.9100 won) 

REUTERS