December 17, 2018 / 2:15 AM / 9 months ago

S.Korean stocks gain ahead of Fed meeting; won weakens

    * KOSPI index rises, foreigners sell
    * Korean won inches down against dollar
    * South Korea bond yields down

    SEOUL, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
    ** South Korea's KOSPI stock index         inched up on
Monday ahead of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting which
begins on Tuesday, where the U.S. central bank is widely
expected to raise interest rates. The Korean won and bond yields
    ** U.S. consumer spending gathered momentum in November
which could further allay fears of a significant slowdown in the
American economy, standing in stark contrast to reports from
China showing a dramatic fall-off in retail sales in the world's
second-largest economy and from Europe where a key measure of
business activity expanded at its slowest rate in four years.
    ** The upbeat data from the Commerce Department on Friday
bolstered expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise
interest rates for a fourth time this year at its Dec. 18-19
policy meeting, despite moderating inflation and tighter
financial market conditions.
    ** South Korea's export growth              was revised down
to 4.1 percent to $51.8 billion, while import growth
             was revised up to 11.5 percent. The country's trade
balance              reached $4.93 billion, achieving a trade
surplus continuously since February 2012, according to trade
ministry data.
    ** At 01:55 GMT, the KOSPI was up 3.34 points or 0.16
percent at 2,072.72.
    ** Shares in the biotech drug arm of the parent group of
tech giant Samsung Electronics             fell more than 6
percent after the company said on Thursday its head office has
been raided by South Korean prosecutors as part of a criminal
probe into alleged accounting fraud.             
    ** The won was quoted at 1,132.2 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.12 percent weaker than its
previous close at 1,130.8.
    ** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,131.6
per U.S. dollar, up 0.01 percent from the previous day, while in
one-year non-deliverable forwards             it was being
transacted at 1,109.95 per dollar.
    ** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan                 was down 0.04 percent, after U.S. stocks
ended the previous session with losses            . Japanese
stocks         rose 0.54 percent.
    ** The KOSPI is down around 16.1 percent so far this year,
and up by 1.27 percent in the previous 30 days.
    ** The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the
dividend yield is 1.28 percent and the market capitalisation is
1,242.04 trillion won.
    ** The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index
        was 182,590,000 shares and, of the total traded issues
of 887, the number of advancing shares was 312.
    ** Foreigners were net sellers of 12,307 million won worth
of shares.
    ** The dollar has risen 6.12 percent against the won this
year. The won's high for the year is 1,053.55 per dollar, hit on
April 2 and its low is 1,146.26, reached on Oct. 11.
    ** In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year
treasury bonds         rose 0.02 points to 109.21.
    ** The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate
was quoted at 1.9 percent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean
treasury bond yielded 1.777 percent, lower than the previous
day's 1.78 percent.

 (Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)
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