* KOSPI index climbs, foreigners net buyers
* Korean won drops modestly versus U.S. dollar
* South Korea benchmark bond yield rises
* For the midday report, please click
SEOUL, July 23 (Reuters) – Round-up of South Korean financial markets:
** South Korean shares ended firmer on Tuesday as rising bets on policy easing by major central banks shifted investors’ focus to high-yield dividend stocks, lifting finance and securities firms. The won weakened slightly, while the benchmark bond yield rose.
** South Korea’s central bank chief suggested he was ready to cut the policy interest rate further by saying that he does not rule out a situation requiring more policy response after last week’s rate cut.
** Expectations that the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve will cut interest rates boosted stocks globally.
** Due to rising expectations of interest rate cuts, investors eyed high-yield dividend stocks such as securities companies and oil companies, said Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Korea. As a trade dispute between South Korea and Japan develops, worries about a glut in memory chip supply eased, boosting South Korean chipmakers, he added.
** The major finance sub-index and the minor securities sub-index rallied 1% and 0.9%, respectively. Shares of S-Oil and SK Innovation jumped more than 2% each.
** South Korea’s SK Hynix gained nearly 3% before trimming its gains. Its shares closed up 0.5%, rising 13.38% so far this month.
** The Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI index closed up 8.11 points, or 0.39%, at 2,101.45 points.
** South Korea’s economy probably returned to growth in the second quarter after a surprising contraction in the first, helped mainly by government spending, a Reuters poll found.
** Foreigners were net buyers of 287.2 billion won ($243.64 million) worth of shares on the main board.
** The won was quoted at 1,178.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.05% lower than its previous close at 1,178.3.
** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,178.9 per U.S. dollar, down 0.3% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,176.8 per dollar.
** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.12%, after U.S. stocks gained . Japanese stocks rose 0.95%.
** The KOSPI has risen 2.96% 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 on the KOSPI index was 640.01 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 895, the number of advancing shares was 289.
** The won has lost 5.4% against the U.S dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, September futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.01 points to 110.74, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.59%.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 0.3 basis point to 1.337%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 0.3 basis point to 1.468%.
($1 = 1,178.8000 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)