January 3, 2020 / 7:16 AM / 18 days ago

S.Korean stocks erase gains on Middle East tensions; won drops

* KOSPI ends flat, foreigners net buyers

* Korean won turns negative after M/E tensions

* South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, Jan 3 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korean stocks erased more than 1% of gains to end nearly flat on Friday as investors worried about escalating geopolitical tensions following a U.S. air strike at Baghdad airport that killed key Iranian and Iraqi military personnel.

** The won fell sharply and the benchmark bond yield also fell.

** The United States killed Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the elite Quds Force and spearhead of Iran’s spreading military influence in the Middle East, in an air strike at Baghdad airport, the Pentagon and Iran said.

** The KOSPI ended up 1.29 points, or 0.06%, at 2,176.46. The benchmark index had gained as much as 1.3% during the session, tracking overnight rally in U.S. stocks.

** For the week, the index fell 1.3%.

** Despite anxieties in the Middle East, foreigners’ buying of Korean stocks remained solid, NH Investment & Securities’ analyst Noh Dong-kil said. However, it is difficult to expect how far this factor will affect local stock markets, he added.

** Foreigners were net buyers of 264.8 billion won ($227.03 million) worth of shares on the main board.

** Shares of Hyundai Motor, South Korea’s top automaker, extended losses to hit a 1-year low after its global sales in 2019 fell 3%.

** The won was quoted at 1,167.1 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.77% lower than its previous close at 1,158.1. On a weekly basis, the currency slipped 0.5%

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,166.4 per U.S. dollar, down 0.8% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading, its one-month contract was quoted at 1,164.8 per dollar.

** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.15%, while U.S. stocks notched record highs overnight.

** The KOSPI has fallen 0.97% so far this year, but gained 0.7% in the previous 30 trading sessions.

** Trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 622.53 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 909, the number of advancing shares was 390.

** The won has lost 0.9% against the dollar so far this year.

** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.17 points to 110.83, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.53% in late afternoon trade.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 5.8 basis points to 1.269% in late afternoon trade, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 8.6 basis points to 1.552%. ($1 = 1,166.3900 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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