S.Korea stocks flat as trade optimism offsets profit-taking; won steady

    * KOSPI almost flat, foreigners net buyers
    * Korean won steadies versus U.S. dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

    SEOUL, Dec 23 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
** South Korean shares were flat on Monday, as losses on profit
booking after a recent rally were capped by lingering optimism
over an interim U.S.-China trade deal, while exports data
in-line with expectations failed to make any impact. The Korean
won was steady, while the benchmark bond yield dropped.
** President Donald Trump on Saturday said the United States and
China would "very shortly" sign their so-called "Phase One"
trade pact.             
** South Korean exports fell again in the first 20 days of
December, but a recovery in demand from China and stabilising
chip prices offered signs that a year-long run of declines may
be nearing its end.             
** As the exports figures were in line with market expectations,
its influence was not considerable, said Lee Won, an analyst at
Bookook Securities. A rebound in chip sales is likely from the
second quarter of 2020, he added. 
** As of 0148 GMT, the Seoul stock market's main KOSPI        
fell 3.87 points, or 0.18%, to 2,200.31.
** Foreigners were net buyers of 4.3 billion won ($3.70 million)
worth of shares on the main board. 
** The won was quoted at 1,162.4 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.15% lower than its previous
close at 1,160.6.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,160.5 per
U.S. dollar, down 0.1% from the previous day, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,158.7 per dollar.
** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
                was up 0.13%, after U.S. stocks gained modestly
on Friday            . Japanese stocks         rose 0.11%.
** The KOSPI has risen 7.87% so far this year, and gained 3.1%
in the previous 30 trading sessions.
** The trading volume during the session in the KOSPI index
        was 209.21 million shares and, of the total traded
issues of 906, the number of advancing shares was 303.
** The won has lost 4.0% against the dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         rose 0.04 points to 110.47, while the
3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.53%.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.9
basis points to 1.385%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell
by 1.9 basis points to 1.657%.

($1 = 1,161.1000 won)    

 (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Rashmi Aich)