* KOSPI index adds 1.4%, foreigners net buyers
* Korean won strengthens versus U.S. dollar
* South Korea benchmark bond yield drops
* For the midday report, please click
SEOUL, July 19 (Reuters) – Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korean shares jumped about 1.5% on Friday as dovish comments from a top Federal Reserve official fuelled expectations of a sharp U.S. rate cut later this month, while escalating tensions between Seoul and Tokyo had a limited impact. The won strengthened, while the benchmark bond yield fell. ** Policymakers need to add stimulus early to deal with too-low inflation when interest rates are near zero and cannot wait for economic disaster to unfold, New York Fed President John Williams said on Thursday. ** The comments made it a virtual certainty that the Fed would opt to cut interest rates by 25 basis points (bps) at its July 30-31 policy meeting and also fuelled expectations of an even deeper 50 bp reduction. ** A deeper rate cut by the Fed would weaken the dollar, providing a short-term momentum to South Korean stocks, said Ryoo Yong-seok, an analyst at KB Securities. Trade tensions between South Korea and Japan did not affect much, he added. ** The Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI index closed 27.80 points, or 1.35% higher at 2,094.35 points, posting its biggest daily percentage gain since late April. For the week, the benchmark index gained 0.37%. ** Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono summoned and admonished South Korea’s ambassador in a deepening diplomatic row over compensation for Korean wartime forced labour that threatens global supply of memory chips and display screens.
** Foreigners were net buyers of 130.1 billion won ($110.79 million) worth of shares on the main board. ** The won was quoted at 1,174.5 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.37% higher than its previous close at 1,178.8. From a week ago, the currency climbed 0.4% against the dollar.
** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,173.5 per U.S. dollar, down 0.1% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,173.1 per dollar.
** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.95%, after U.S. stocks gained . Japanese stocks rose 2.00%.
** The KOSPI has risen 2.61% so far this year, but lost 0.1% 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 386.10 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 895, the number of advancing shares was 660.
** The won has lost 5.0% against the U.S dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.07 points to 110.81, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.60%.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 1.1 basis points to 1.331%, while the benchmark 10-year yield declined by 1.5 basis points to 1.455%. ($1 = 1,174.3000 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)