S.Korea stocks edge higher as chipmakers rally

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

    SEOUL, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
** South Korean shares inched up on Thursday, as foreigners
bought local chip stocks on improving business outlook and as
healthcare stocks gained. The Korean won and the benchmark bond
yield rose.

** Shares of Samsung Electronics             and SK Hynix
            jumped after U.S. peer Micron Technology       
signalled business recovery next year and beat earnings
estimates on an uptick in demand.             
** As of 0203 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI        
rose 1.44 points, or 0.07%, to 2,196.20, after rising as much as
0.45% in early trade. 
** Along with chipmakers, drugmakers also shined, as their
earnings outlook has improved recently, said Park Seok-hyun, an
analyst at KTB Securities. Most of the foreign capital inflows
were directed to chipmakers, he added. 
** Shares of Celltrion            , South Korea's biggest
pharmaceutical firm, climbed 2.5%. 
** Foreigners were net buyers of 154.1 billion won ($130.67
million) worth of shares on the main board. 
** The won was quoted at 1,164.6 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.36% higher than its previous
close at 1,168.8.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,164.7 per
U.S. dollar, up 0.2% from the previous day, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,163.2 per dollar.
** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
                was down 0.03%, after U.S. stocks were little
changed overnight            . Japanese stocks         fell
** The KOSPI has risen 7.76% so far this year, and gained 2.4%
in the previous 30 trading sessions.
** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index
        was 183.57 million shares and, of the total traded
issues of 905, the number of advancing shares was 375.
** The won has lost 4.2% against the dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         fell 0.03 points to 110.46, while the
3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.53%. 
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.8
basis points to 1.373%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose
by 2.5 basis points to 1.632%.

($1 = 1,179.3300 won)

 (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Aditya Soni)