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S.Korea stocks gain as trade optimism lifts tech sector; won steady

* KOSPI index rises, foreigners net buyers * Korean won steady versus U.S. dollar * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls SEOUL, July 23 (Reuters) – Round-up of South Korean financial markets: South Korean shares climbed on Tuesday as overnight gains in U.S. semiconductor shares lifted South Korean chip giants, amid high expectations of policy easing by major central banks. The Korean won was steady, while the benchmark bond yield fell. ** Tech shares pulled the index into the green as investors girded themselves for second-quarter results from major industrial and technology companies and looked forward to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s expected interest rate cut at the end of the month. ** A report on a roundtable meeting of technology companies with top officials of the Trump administration to discuss the blacklisting of Huawei Technologies boosted U.S.-based tech firms. ** Shares of U.S. chipmaker Micron Technology closed up 3.7% in Wall Street, lifting Philadelphia Semiconductor Index nearly 2%. ** Goldman Sachs upgraded its view on the semiconductor sector, which prompted foreigner buying of Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix shares, said Noh Dong-kil, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. ** South Korea’s Samsung Elec added 0.4%, while SK Hynix, which has a bigger weighting on memory chip business, gained 2.6%. ** Shares of Hyundai Motor slipped despite the automaker posting a solid second-quarter profit, as worries over its third-quarter performance emerged due to potential labour strike and ahead of off-season. ** As of 0215 GMT, the Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI index was up 11.56 points or 0.55% at 2,104.90 points. ** South Korea’s central bank said Japan’s export curbs on key chip and display production materials were one of the top three risks to the domestic economy even after its recent downgrades to growth projections. ** Foreigners were net buyers of 149.0 billion won ($126.49 million) worth of shares on the main board. ** The won was quoted at 1,178.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.04% lower than its previous close at 1,178.3. ** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,178.3 per U.S. dollar, down 0.2% from the previous session, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,176.9 per dollar. ** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.05%, after U.S. stocks ended firmer. Japanese stocks rose 0.80%. ** The KOSPI climbed 2.94% so far this year, but lost 0.3% 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 in the KOSPI index was 192.25 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 890, the number of advancing shares was 341. ** The won lost 5.4% against the U.S dollar so far this year. ** In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds edged up 0.01 points to 110.76, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.59%. ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.6 basis points to 1.340%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 0.1 basis points to 1.464%. ($1 = 1,178.6000 won) ($1 = 1,177.9500 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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