* KOSPI drops as much as 1.2%, foreigners net sellers * Korean won flat versus U.S. dollar * South Korea benchmark bond yield rises SEOUL, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korean shares started the New Year on a tepid note by falling as much as 1.2% on Thursday, as investors awaited details of the Phase 1 U.S.-China trade deal and on some profit booking. The Korean won was steady, while the benchmark bond yield rose. ** U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Phase 1 of trade deal with China would be signed on Jan. 15 at the White House, though considerable confusion remains about the details of the agreement. ** Favourable factors have already been priced in during December last year, said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea. Some investors booked profits from market heavyweights, including Samsung Electronics , he added. ** As of 0213 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI fell 19.15 points, or 0.87%, to 2,178.52, after falling as much as 1.2% earlier in the trade. ** Shares of Samsung Elec lost nearly 1%. ** South Korean exports fell in December year-on-year but less than expected, which along with a turn to growth in shipments to China and a slowing pace of decline in chip sales added to optimism for global trade. ** South Korea's factory activity returned to growth in December, snapping seven straight months of contraction, helped by improving demand, especially from abroad, a private business survey showed on Thursday. ** Foreigners were net sellers of 75.6 billion won ($65.38 million) worth of shares on the main board. ** The won was quoted at 1,156.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.01% higher than its previous close at 1,156.4. ** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,156.4 per U.S. dollar, down 0.2% 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 0.18%, after U.S. stocks closed up marginally on Tuesday . ** The KOSPI has gained 1.6% in the previous 30 trading sessions. ** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index was 172.82 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 904, the number of advancing shares was 315. ** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.04 points to 110.58, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.53%. ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.6 basis points to 1.349%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 2.1 basis points to 1.693%. ($1 = 1,156.3900 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.