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South Korea: Stocks hit 4-month high on trade optimism

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As of 0149 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI was up 24.64 points, or 1.17 per cent, at 2,124.84, marks its best session since July 2.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares rallied on Monday to hit their highest in more than four months, as heightened optimism over US-China trade negotiations lifted risk appetite. The Korean won and the benchmark bond yield also gained.

As of 0149 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI was up 24.64 points, or 1.17 per cent, at 2,124.84, marks its best session since July 2.

Trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 212.54 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 900, the number of advancing shares was 642.

Foreigners were net buyers of 65.7 billion won (S$76.9 million) worth of shares on the main board.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.78 per cent, after US stocks rallied. Japanese stocks dipped 0.33 per cent.

The KOSPI has advanced 4.11 per cent so far this year, and gained 1.4 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

On Friday, the United States and China said they made progress in talks aimed at defusing a nearly 16-month-long trade war that has harmed the global economy, and US officials said a deal could be signed this month.

Particularly, the news about China's Huawei Technologies formed investors expectations that Washington and Beijing might go on to the "phase two" agreement, said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said licences for US companies to sell components to China's Huawei Technologies Co will come "very shortly", in an interview with Bloomberg published on Sunday.

US job growth slowed less than expected in October as the drag from a strike at General Motors was offset by gains elsewhere and hiring in the prior two months was stronger than previously estimated, offering some assurance that consumers would continue to support the slowing economy.

The South Korean won was quoted at 1,160.8 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.41 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,165.6. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,160.1 per US dollar, up 0.4 per cent from the previous session, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,158.6 per dollar.

The won has lost 3.9 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds dipped 0.08 points to 110.03, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.44 per cent.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 2.9 basis points to 1.495 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield climbed by 2.9 basis points to 1.760 per cent.

REUTERS

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