March 20, 2019 / 2:08 AM / 3 months ago

S.Korea stocks drop as investors assess trade talks, Fed meeting

    * KOSPI index falls, foreigners net sellers
    * Korean won flat versus U.S. dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

    SEOUL, March 20 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean
financial markets:
    
** South Korea's KOSPI stock index         dropped on Wednesday
as uncertainty over developments in the Sino-U.S. talks dented
sentiment, while investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. Fed
meeting. The Korean won was steady, while bond yield fell.
     
** As of 0204 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI was down
24.16 points or 1.11 percent to 2,153.46 points.
    
** The Federal Reserve, which is wrapping up its two-day policy
review later in the day, is expected to lower its policymakers'
rate projections from December, when their median expectations
were for two rate hikes this year. 
    
** Investors are focused on the Fed to see whether the central
bank will affirm its commitment to "patient" monetary policy and
for clues about the likely path of U.S. borrowing costs.    
    
** Market players held on to hopes of a trade deal between
Washington and Beijing as officials from both sides remained
locked in negotiations.    
        
** U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to travel to China next week for
another round of trade talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, a
Trump administration official said on Tuesday. The resumption in
face-to-face talks marks an acceleration of the negotiations
aimed at ending an eight-month trade war between the world's two
largest economies.             
    
** Meanwhile, some U.S. negotiators saw Chinese counterparts
were not fully assured that U.S. tariffs imposed on Chinese
goods would be lifted, raising worries that China may push back
against American demands in trade talks, Bloomberg reported here
 citing unnamed sources. 

** Shares of biggest KOSPI stock, Samsung Electronics
           , stumbled as much as 1.5 percent, while its annual
general meeting is underway. The tech giant expected a tough
year due to global trade tensions, slowing economic growth and
softer demand for memory chips from data centre companies, the
firm's co-chief executive said.                 

** Foreigners were net sellers of 61.7 billion won worth of
shares on the main board. 
    
** The won was quoted at 1,130.9 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.03 percent lower than its
previous close at 1,130.6.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,131.2 per
U.S. dollar, down 0.1 percent from the previous session, while
in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month
contract               was quoted at 1,129.8 per dollar.
    
** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
                was down 0.37 percent, after U.S. stocks ended
little changed.             Japanese stocks         fell 0.20
percent.
    
** The KOSPI rose 5.62 percent so far this year, and fell 1.3
percent in the previous 30 trading sessions.
    
** 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 126.68 million shares and, of the total traded
issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 176.
    
** The won slipped 1.3 percent against the U.S dollar this year.
    
** In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year
treasury bonds         rose 0.02 points to 109.31, while the
3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.90 percent.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield was flat at
1.810 percent, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 0.5
basis points to 1.974 percent.

 (Reporting by Hayoung Choi, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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