May 20, 2019 / 7:06 AM / 5 months ago

S.Korean stocks retreat as foreigners turn net sellers

* KOSPI index steady, foreigners net sellers for 8th session

* Korean won strengthens versus U.S. dollar

* South Korea benchmark bond yield rises

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, May 20 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

South Korea’s KOSPI stock index shed early gains to end flat on Monday, as foreigners turned net sellers following another week of escalating U.S.-China trade tensions. The Korean won climbed after a finance ministry official warned against “herd-like behaviour” and the benchmark bond yield also rose.

** The Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI ended down 0.08 points at 2,055.72 points. ** South Korean automakers rose on optimism they would be exempt from import tariffs on vehicles the United States deems a threat to national security, after the U.S. president said a revised trade deal could address concerns. Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors closed up 2.8% and 1.6%, respectively. ** Foreigners were net sellers of 25.4 billion won ($21.27 million) worth of shares on the main board. They were net sellers for the eighth consecutive session, the longest streak since November 2018.

** The won was quoted at 1,194.2 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.13% higher than its previous close at 1,195.7.

** As the currency hovers near its lowest level since January 2017, South Korea’s finance ministry official in charge of currency markets said he is watching trades to see if large-scale transactions, or herd-like behaviour causes distortions in the dollar-won exchange rate.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,193.1 per U.S. dollar, up 0.1% from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,191.9 per dollar. ** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.52%, after U.S. stocks fell . Japanese stocks rose 0.24%.

** The KOSPI rose 0.72% so far this year, and dropped 6.7% in the previous 30 trading sessions.

** The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28% and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won.

** The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 622.96 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 894, the number of advancing shares was 240.

** The won has lost 6.6% against the U.S. dollar this year.

** In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds dipped 0.03 points to 109.66, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.84%.

** The most liquid three-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.2 basis points to 1.682%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 2.7 basis points to 1.847%.

$1 = 1,194.1700 won Reporting by Hayoung Choi, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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