March 26, 2020 / 8:05 AM / 13 days ago

S.Korean shares fall after two sessions of sharp gains; won weakens

* KOSPI falls, foreigners net sellers

* Korean won weakens versus U.S. dollar

* South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, March 26 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korean shares dropped on Thursday after two sessions of sharp gains, as investors booked profits ahead of data expected to show a spike in U.S. jobless claims due to the coronavirus crisis. The won weakened, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

** The Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI closed down 18.52 points, or 1.09%, at 1,686.24, having gained nearly 15% in the past two sessions. But the index has fallen 23.27% so far this year.

** Foreigners were net sellers of 505.8 billion won ($411.26 million) worth of shares on the main board.

** South Korea’s central bank said on Thursday that it is launching its own version of quantitative easing in efforts to calm money markets.

** The South Korean government also said on Thursday that it plans to loosen the foreign exchange liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) for banks to encourage dollar supply into local markets.

** Steep jumps in previous sessions prompted investors to take profits as they are cautious about the global economic outlook, especially ahead of a likely surge in U.S. jobless claims, said Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Investment & Securities.

** The passing of the U.S. stimulus bill in the Senate had a limited impact on equities, he said.

** The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits likely raced to as high as a record 4 million last week.

** The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill, which is now sent to the House of Representatives for a vote on Friday.

** The won ended trading at 1,232.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.24% lower than its previous close at 1,229.9.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,232.6 per dollar, down 0.1% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,230.6.

** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 982.94 million shares. Of the total traded issues of 904, the number of advancing shares was 734.

** In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.24 points to 111.36.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 8.5 basis points to 1.061%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 15.0 basis points to 1.512%. ($1 = 1,229.8800 won) (Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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