May 13, 2020 / 8:03 AM / 18 days ago

S.Korean shares gain ahead of U.S. Fed chair speech

* KOSPI rises, foreigners net sellers

* Korean won strengthens versus U.S. dollar

* South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, May 13 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korean shares pared early losses to end nearly 1% higher on Wednesday, as investors looked forward to U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s speech, but worries over a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak capped gains. The won strengthened, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

** The Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI closed up 18.25 points, or 0.95%, at 1,940.42, snapping a two-day losing streak.

** U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers said on Tuesday that businesses and households are going to need more fiscal support to get through what will likely be a longer period of recovery from the coronavirus shutdown than initially expected.

** South Korea reported 26 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday amid fears of a second wave of infections, while reports of new clusters of infections in China and Germany where shutdowns had been lifted appear to have added to the worries.

** South Korea’s unemployment rate was unchanged in April but the number of employed fell at the fastest pace in more than two decades, data showed, as measures to contain the coronavirus closed businesses and reduced social activity.

** South Korea’s central bank said on Wednesday it would raise the ceiling for its special loans programme by 5 trillion won ($4.08 billion) to 35 trillion won to extend support to small businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

** Stocks rose following the Chinese market’s rebound, said Kiwoom Securities’ analyst Seo Sang-young, adding that investors looked ahead to Powell’s speech tonight.

** The Shanghai Composite index was up 0.22%, while China’s blue-chip index gained 0.20%. ** Foreigners were net sellers of 318.4 billion won ($259.90 million) worth of shares on the main board.

** The won closed trading at 1,223.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.08% higher than its previous close at 1,224.8.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,224.5 per dollar, up 0.2% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,224.4. ** In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.09 point to 112.09.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 3.2 basis points to 0.855%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 3.0 basis points to 1.392%. ($1 = 1,225.0900 won) (Reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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