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S.Korea won, stocks fall on worries over U.S. political turmoil
May 18, 2017 / 2:42 AM / 7 months ago

S.Korea won, stocks fall on worries over U.S. political turmoil

    * Won pressured by risk-off sentiment in Asian markets
    * KOSPI falls, taking cues from Wall Street

    SEOUL, May 18 (Reuters) - South Korean stocks weakened and
the won        slipped to a near one-week low early on Thursday,
as mounting political uncertainties over U.S. President Donald
Trump's future raised worries that investors in Asian emerging
markets could move to  less risky destinations.              
    The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday named former FBI
Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate
possible collusion between Trump campaign and Russia in last
year's presidential election. As the fallout spread from reports
that Trump tried to interfere with a federal investigation, one
of Republican lawmaker even mentioned the risk of impeachment.
    The won            stood at 1,125.2 against the dollar as of
0218 GMT, down 0.6 percent versus Wednesday's close of 1,118.3.
    The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)         was
down 0.5 percent at 2,281.94 points, and touched its weakest
level since May 10 right after the market opened.
    "Though the dollar itself slid in the global market,
political risks from the United States boosted risk-off
sentiment in Asian markets, pressuring the won," said Kim
Doo-un, a foreign exchange analyst at Hana Financial Investment.
    Kim expected the volatility in the currency to calm down in
coming days as the U.S. political turmoil would take time to
play out. 
    Offshore investors were set to be net sellers, offloading
46.1 billion Korean won ($40.99 million) worth of KOSPI shares
near mid-session. 
    Shares of Hyundai Motor             rose over 3 percent
while Kia Motors             gained 2.6 percent. 
    Decliners outnumbered advancers 584 to 211.
    June futures on three-year treasury bonds         gained
0.05 point to 109.49. 
                       0218 GMT    Prev close
 Dollar/won             1,125.2       1,118.3
 Yen/won             10.1239/65       10.1232
 *KTB futures            109.49        109.44
 KOSPI                 2,281.84      2,193.08
 * Front-month futures on three-year treasury bonds

 (Reporting by Dahee Kim; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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