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South Korea: Stocks tread water; all eyes on Brexit talks

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South Korean shares were nearly flat on Thursday, as investors remained cautious amid the last leg of negotiations on Britain's exit from the European Union (EU). Meanwhile, both the Korean won and the benchmark bond yield rose.

[SEOUL] South Korean shares were nearly flat on Thursday, as investors remained cautious amid the last leg of negotiations on Britain's exit from the European Union (EU). Meanwhile, both the Korean won and the benchmark bond yield rose.

Britain and the EE were on the verge of a last-minute Brexit deal on Wednesday but Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has work to do at home to ensure his government and factious Parliament approve the plan. There is a good chance that Britain and the European Union can strike a Brexit deal but it has not been done yet, British culture minister Nicky Morgan said on Wednesday.

Investor caution grew amid Brexit talks, while worries persisted around US-China tension over Hong Kong, said Kim Ye-eun, an analyst from IBK Securities.

As of 0205 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI fell 0.88 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 2,081.95.

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Foreigners were net sellers of 47.2 billion won (S$54.5 million) worth of shares on the main board.

The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 142.03 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 883, the number of advancing shares was 314.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.15 per cent, after US stocks sagged. Japanese stocks rose 0.11 per cent.

The KOSPI has risen 1.88 per cent so far this year, and gained 7.7 per cent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

The won was quoted at 1,186.5 per US dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.11 per cent higher than its previous close at 1,187.8. In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,186.4 per US dollar, down 0.1 per cent from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,185.2 per dollar.

 

The won has lost 6.0 per cent against the US dollar so far this year.

In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.07 points to 110.59, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.36 per cent.

The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.8 basis points to 1.337 per cent, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 0.6 basis points to 1.536 per cent.

REUTERS