S.Korea shares end lower as pandemic woes outweigh U.S. stimulus optimism

* KOSPI falls, foreigners net sellers

* Korean won strengthens against U.S. dollar

* South Korea benchmark bond yield rises

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korean shares inched down on Thursday as the country continued to report near-record daily COVID-19 cases, overshadowing central banks’ policy support and hopes of U.S. stimulus. The won and the benchmark bond yield strengthened.

** The benchmark KOSPI closed down 1.36 points, or 0.05%, at 2,770.43, after falling as much as 1.1% in early trade.

** South Korea reported a record number of coronavirus deaths and the third highest in daily infections on Thursday, threatening public health system and sparking panic buying in anticipation of a harsh new lockdown.

** The government on Thursday cut its 2021 growth forecast and vowed to continue to support workers and exporters as a resurgence of the coronavirus has delayed its recovery and forced the government to keep its fiscal taps wide open.

** The Bank of Korea said accumulating financial imbalances remain a worry, but that it will maintain its accommodative policy approach as low interest rates were not the main reason for the shakeout.

** The bank also said it has agreed to renew an existing currency swap agreement with the U.S. Federal Reserve by another six months until at least Sept. 30, 2021.

** The Fed said it would stick with its policy of low interest rates, while legislators moved closer to agreeing on an additional $900 billion of COVID-19 aid, including $600 to $700 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits.

** Foreigners were net sellers of 301.1 billion won ($275.47 million) worth of shares on the main board.

** The won ended at 1,093.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.06% higher than its previous close at 1,094.0.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,092.4 per dollar, unchanged from the previous session, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,089.5.

** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.06 points to 111.39.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 1.1 basis points to 0.999%.

$1 = 1,093.0500 won Reporting by Joori Roh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips