S.Korean shares steady as higher infections counter U.S. recovery hopes

    * KOSPI rises, foreigners net buyers
    * Korean won weakens against U.S. dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

    SEOUL, April 8 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean
financial markets:
** South Korean shares were little changed on Thursday as
optimism from the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to
supportive policy was offset by worries about a surge in local
cases of the novel coronavirus. 
** The won and the benchmark bond yield fell.
** The KOSPI         rose 1.40 points, or 0.04%, to 3,138.81 by
0154 GMT.
** Minutes of the Federal Reserve's last policy meeting showed
members were in no rush to scale back their $120 billion a month
of bond buying.                 
** South Korea reported 700 new coronavirus cases, its highest
daily figure since early-January, and the Prime Minister
reiterated warnings on Thursday that new social distancing rules
would likely be needed.              
** Denting sentiment further, Mirae Asset analyst Seo Sang-young
said KOSPI's performance wasn't strong due to doubts about
successful passage of infrastructure plans and corporate tax
hikes in the United States.
** Among shares, Samsung Electronics             fell 0.82% and
peer SK Hynix             rose 1.05%. LG Chem             fell
0.74% and Naver             slid 0.39%.
** Foreigners were net buyers of 65.5 billion won worth of
shares on the main board. 
** The won was quoted at 1,120.7 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , down 0.39%.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,117.8 per
dollar, up 0.1% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable
forward trading its one-month contract               was quoted
at 1,117.7.
** The trading volume was 674.52 million shares. Of the total
traded issues of 906, the number of advancing shares was 444.
** In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year
treasury bonds         rose 0.05 point to 110.78.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 2.3
basis points to 1.158%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell
by 1.7 basis points to 2.047%.

 (Reporting by Cynthia Kim, additional reporting by Jihoon Lee;
editing by Uttaresh.V)