* 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 markets: ** 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 0.08%. ** 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)
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