December 17, 2018 / 7:13 AM / 6 months ago

S.Korean stocks edge higher on hopes of Fed easing rate hikes in 2019

* KOSPI index edges up, foreigners buy

* Korean won inches down versus U.S. dollar

* South Korea bond yields up

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korea’s KOSPI stock index ended slightly higher on Monday on hopes of the U.S. Federal Reserve easing rate hikes next year. The Korean won inched down, while bond yields rose. ** At 06:31 GMT, the KOSPI was up 1.70 points, or 0.08 percent, at 2,071.08. ** Most Asian shares ended positive in expectations of U.S. monetary policy changes, though economic indexes from China and Europe are stagnant, said Park Sang-hyun, an economist at Leading Investment & Securities. ** Investors are eager for a touch of Christmas cheer from the U.S. Federal Reserve at its meeting this week, hoping for signs the central bank may ease up on interest rate hikes next year and spark a Santa Claus rally. ** South Korea cut its 2018-2019 growth outlook to the lowest in six years, citing weak investment and global trade tensions. The finance ministry viewed the economy is expected to grow by 2.6 to 2.7 percent this and next year. ** The won was quoted at 1,131.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.04 percent weaker than its previous close at 1,130.8. ** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,131.1 per U.S. dollar, up 0.05 percent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,110.85 per dollar. ** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.24 percent, after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with mild losses. Japanese stocks rose 0.62 percent. ** The KOSPI is down around 16.1 percent so far this year, and up by 1.27 percent in the previous 30 days. ** The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28 percent and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won. ** The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 438,201,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 893, the number of advancing shares was 363. ** Foreigners were net buyers of 48,591 million won worth of shares. ** The U.S dollar has risen 6.07 percent 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 1,146.26 on October 11 2018. ** In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.02 points to 109.17. ** The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.9 percent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.793 percent, higher than the previous day’s 1.78 percent. (Reporting by Hayoung Choi, Yuna Park; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

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