January 17, 2020 / 3:14 AM / a month ago

S.Korea stocks hit 15-month high as China data soothes growth concerns

    * KOSPI edges up, foreigners net buyers
    * Korean won strengthens versus U.S. dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield rises

    SEOUL, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
** South Korean shares hit a 15-month high on Friday as Chinese
economic data allayed growth worries, but the main index pared
some early gains as the momentum from the U.S.-China trade deal
faded. The Korean won and the benchmark bond yield rose.
** As of 02:57 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI        
rose 4.08 points, or 0.18%, to 2,252.13. By rising as much as
0.9% in early trade, the index hit the highest since Oct. 8,
** The index was on track for its second straight weekly gain
with a near 2% rise. 
** The index gave up some of early gains, after the momentum
caused by U.S.-China trade deal has disappeared, said Lee Won,
an analyst at Bookook Securities. China's growth data helped
local markets, while the Bank of Korea's rate decision gave
limited impact, he added. 
** China's economy grew 6.0% in the fourth quarter of 2019 from
a year earlier, official data showed on Friday, in line with
expectations and unchanged from the previous quarter's pace.
** South Korea's central bank kept its benchmark rate steady on
Friday, as largely expected, as it assesses the impact of
earlier easings amid concerns that rock-bottom interest rates
meant to power a recovery could be stoking a property bubble.
** Foreigners were net buyers of 37.0 billion won ($32.00
million) worth of shares on the main board. 
** The won was quoted at 1,159.3 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.16% higher than its previous
close at 1,161.1.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,156.4 per
U.S. dollar, up 0.3% from the previous day, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,155.1 per dollar.
** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
                was up 0.33%, after U.S. stocks jumped overnight
           . Japanese stocks         rose 0.52%.
** The KOSPI has risen 2.61% so far this year, and gained 7.5%
in the previous 30 trading sessions.
** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index
        was 324.31 million shares and, of the total traded
issues of 903, the number of advancing shares was 387.
** The won has lost 0.3% against the dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         fell 0.11 points to 110.19.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 2.9
basis points to 1.455%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose
by 2.8 basis points to 1.728%.    

($1 = 1,156.0900 won)

 (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)
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