* KOSPI rises, foreigners net buyers
* Korean won strengthens against U.S. dollar
* S.Korea benchmark bond yield inches down
* For the midday report, please click
SEOUL, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:
** South Korean shares rose for a third straight day on Wednesday as auto shares were boosted by reports of a possible $3.6 billion deal between Kia Corp and Apple Inc . The won gained, while the benchmark bond yield edged down.
** The KOSPI closed up 32.87 points, or 1.06%, at 3,129.68, after gaining 1.5% in early trade. The index rose 1.3% on Tuesday.
** Kia Corp, an affiliate of Hyundai Motor Group, surged as much as 14.5% to its highest level since September 1997, after local media reported the South Korean automaker and Apple will likely sign a deal in mid-February.
** Hyundai Motor Co, the country’s largest carmaker, also jumped as high as 5% following robust U.S. January sales of both the company and Kia.
** Majority of heavyweights gained: Chip giant Samsung Electronics closed up 0.2%, while LG Chem and Naver added 3.5% and 2.2%, respectively.
** Adding to the upbeat mood, Democrats in the U.S. Congress on Tuesday took the first steps toward advancing President Joe Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid plan without Republican support.
** Foreigners were net buyers of 425.8 billion won ($381.86 million) worth of shares on the main board.
** The won ended at 1,114.9 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.25% higher than its previous close at 1,117.7.
** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,114.9, unchanged from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,114.6.
** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.03 points to 111.59.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.2 basis points to 0.978%.
($1 = 1,115.0800 won)
Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel