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South Korea: Stocks wobble, won slides on Fed rate hike worries

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[SEOUL] South Korea's KOSPI stock index wobbled on Wednesday. The Korean won sharply fell against the US dollar, while bond yields rose. The country's financial markets were hit by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's comments that revived concerns of faster-than-expected US rate rises. However, foreign and individual investor stock purchases prevented bigger losses on the stock index.

At 01.06 GMT, the kospi was down 0.35 points or 0.01 per cent at 2,455.79.

The won was quoted at 1,080.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.81 per cent weaker than its previous close at 1,071.3.

In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,079.9 per US dollar, up 0.01 per cent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it fetched 1,069.35 per dollar.

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MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.28 per cent, after US stocks ended the previous session with losses . Japanese stocks weakened 0.26 per cent.

The Kospi is down around 0.5 per cent so far this year, and down 1.61 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 108,205,000 shares, and of the total traded issues of 875, the number of advancing shares was 290.

Foreigners were net buyers of 17,093 million won worth of shares.

The US dollar has risen 1.31 per cent against the won this year. The won's high for the year is 1,056.67 per dollar on January 14 2018 and low is 1,098.4 on February 6 2018.

In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.03 points to 107.72.

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 2.274 per cent, higher than the previous day's 2.26 per cent.

REUTERS