March 2, 2020 / 2:54 AM / a month ago

S.Korean stocks rise on Fed rate cut bets, fewer China virus cases

    * KOSPI jumps, foreigners sell
    * KRW gains more than 1% against USD
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

    SEOUL, March 2 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean
financial markets:
    ** South Korean shares rose on Monday after a steep drop
last week, as mainland China reported a sharp drop in new
coronavirus cases and expectations grew that the U.S. Federal
Reserve will cut interest rates this month to help cushion the
impact of the virus. The won jumped, while the benchmark bond
yield fell.
    ** Mainland China had 202 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the
country's National Health Commission said, sharply down from 573
a day earlier.             
    ** South Korea's factory activity shrank faster in February,
as export orders contracted at the quickest pace in over six
years, a private survey showed.             
    ** Data from the trade ministry showed February exports
tumbled 11.7% on a daily basis, with those to China per working
day plunging 21.1%, but markets fear the worst is yet to come.
    ** On Saturday, data showed factory activity in China
contracted at the fastest pace ever in February.             
    ** Fears have swept across South Korea as confirmed
infections spiked from 31 to over 4,200 in less than two weeks
as of early Monday, putting the country under "critical moment"
in the battle against the virus.             
    ** Interest rate futures markets now see a 100% probability
the Fed will cut interest rates at its meeting this month, with
the question only being how large it will be.             
    ** By 0244 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI        
rose 25.06 points, or 1.26%, to 2,012.07.
    ** "A noticeable drop in China's new infections as well as
rising expectations over Fed's rate cut has towed the market,"
said Lee Won, an analyst at Bookook Securities.
    ** Though the Chinese PMI and South Korea's exports data
raised slowdown concerns, markets have already priced in those
impacts, he added.
    ** South Korea's heavyweight Samsung Electronics            
and SK Hynix             were up 2.2% and 4.6% respectively,  on
higher semiconductor shipments.
    ** A breakdown of trade data showed overseas sales of memory
chips last month rose 9.4% from a year earlier.
    ** Foreigners were net sellers of 497.2 billion won worth of
shares on the main board.
    ** The won was quoted at 1,199.8 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 1.16% higher than its previous
close at 1,213.7.
    ** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,197.1
per U.S. dollar, up 0.3% from the previous day, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,196.4 per dollar.
    ** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan                 was up 0.92%. Japanese stocks         rose
1.11%, while Shanghai composite index jumped 2.62%.            
    ** The KOSPI has fallen 8.45% so far this year, but lost
10.9% in the previous 30 trading sessions.
    ** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index
        was 305.08 million shares. Of the total traded issues of
905, the number of advancing shares was 587.
    ** The won has lost 3.6% against the dollar so far this
    ** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         fell 0.02 points to 111.41, while the
3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.41%.
    ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by
1.6 basis points to 1.088%, while the benchmark 10-year yield
fell by 3.6 basis points to 1.298%.

 (Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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