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South Korea: Stocks surge to 4-week high, won firms

[SEOUL] South Korea's Kospi stock index sharply rose early on Wednesday. The Korean won edged higher on the local platform, while bond yields fell.

At 01:06 GMT, the Kospi was up 31.12 points or 1.27 per cent at 2,484.89. It was the highest intraday trading level since March 22.

The benchmark stock index was buoyed by easing political tensions on the Korean peninsula after a senior US official said CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a secret visit to North Korea over the Easter weekend and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Wall Street gains overnight, supporting overall sentiment; SK Hynix shares gain over 3 per cent.

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The won was quoted at 1,064.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.23 per cent firmer than its previous close at 1,067.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,064.17 per US dollar, up 0.18 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it fetched 1,049.25 per dollar.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.38 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with gains. Japanese stocks climbed 1.19 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 0.6 per cent so far this year, and down by 1.76 per cent in the previous 30 days.

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 211,939,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 876, the number of advancing shares was 542.

Foreigners were net buyers of 118,977 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has fallen 0.21 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar on April 2 2018 and low is 1,098.4 on February 6 2018.

In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.02 points to 107.86.

The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.65 per cent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 2.177 per cent, lower than the previous day's 2.18 per cent.

REUTERS