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Asia, Forex

S.Korea stocks drop on weak corporate earnings; chip giants gain

* KOSPI index falls, foreigners net buyers * Korean won weakens versus U.S. dollar * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls SEOUL, July 25 (Reuters) – Round-up of South Korean financial markets: ** South Korean shares declined on Thursday as weak second-quarter corporate earnings dampened investor mood, even as chip giants rose after SK Hynix Inc said it would cut investment and production to support a modest rebound in chip demand. The won and the benchmark bond yield fell. ** Shares of LG Chem fell more than 5% after the company lowered profit margin estimate for its battery business, blaming a recent fire incident. This sent the chemical sub-index 2.4% lower, making it the biggest percentage loser among KOSPI sub-indexes. ** Shares of SK Hynix rose more than 3% after the company said it would cut DRAM output capacity from the next quarter. This lifted other chipmakers including Samsung Electronics , which gained 1.2%. ** Shares of Hyundai Mobis jumped nearly 6% to their highest level since May last year, after the company posted second-quarter results above market consensus. ** As of 0157 GMT, the Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI index fell 15.35 points, or 0.74%, to 2,066.95 points. ** South Korea’s economy swung back to growth in the second quarter, dodging a technical recession, although the expansion was mostly driven by government spending, suggesting the central bank may need to cut rates again to stoke demand. ** Foreigners were net buyers of 1.2 billion won ($1.02 million) worth of shares on the main board. ** The won was quoted at 1,179.8 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform , 0.16% lower than its previous close at 1,177.9. ** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,179.4 per U.S. dollar, down 0.2% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,177.9 per dollar. ** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.13%, after U.S. stocks registered record closing highs . Japanese stocks rose 0.40%. ** The KOSPI has risen 1.42% so far this year, but lost 1.3% 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 270.64 million shares and, of the total traded issues of 893, the number of advancing shares was 124. ** 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 rose 0.02 points to 110.81, while the 3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 1.56%. ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 1.3 basis points to 1.309%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 2.0 basis points to 1.446%. ($1 = 1,179.3700 won) (Reporting by Hayoung Choi; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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