S.Korean stocks plunge nearly 1.5 pct amid intensifying trade frictions

* KOSPI index drops, foreigners net sellers

* Korean won weakens versus U.S. dollar

* South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

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SEOUL, April 18 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korean shares slumped 1.4 percent on Thursday as foreign investors and local institutions trimmed their equity exposure amid intensifying trade frictions. The won and the benchmark bond yield fell after the central bank cut its 2019 growth forecast further to a seven-year low.

** The main KOSPI stock index closed down 32.12 points, or 1.43 percent, at 2,213.77, declining for a second straight session.

** Investors worried that tensions between the United States and China could escalate after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai opposed China Mobile Ltd's bid to provide U.S. telecommunications services, citing security risks.

** Planes, tractors, food and handbags featured on a list of U.S. imports worth $20 billion that the European Union said on Wednesday it could hit with tariffs in a transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute.

** South Korean shares extended losses as foreign investors who have been key to recent gains turned net sellers, said Kim Hyoung-ryoul, chief of research centre at Kyobo Securities.

** Foreigners were net sellers of 149.3 billion won ($131.37 million) worth of shares on the main board, while local institutions offloaded a net 151.8 billion won worth of stocks. ** South Korea's central bank cut its 2019 growth forecast further to a seven-year low while keeping its policy rate unchanged, bolstering chances it may soon cut rates amid sagging exports and muted inflation.

** The won was quoted at 1,136.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.18 percent lower than its previous close at 1,134.8. ** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,136.7 per U.S. dollar, down 0.5 percent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,134.9 per dollar.

** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.37 percent, after U.S. stocks closed lower in the previous session. Japanese stocks fell 0.84 percent.

** The KOSPI has risen 8.46 percent so far this year, and rose 3.2 percent in the previous 30 trading sessions.

** 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 507.55 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 892, the number of advancing shares was 172.

** The won has lost 1.9 percent against the U.S. dollar this year.

** In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.13 points to 109.49, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.86 percent.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 4.3 basis points to 1.736 percent, while the benchmark 10-year yield declined by 6.5 basis points to 1.883 percent. ($1 = 1,136.4600 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi, Yuna Park; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

2019-04-18 09:21:59

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