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S.Korea stocks hit near 3-mth closing high as foreign buying offset COVID-19 worries

* KOSPI ends at highest close since Jan. 25, foreigners net buyers

* KRW gains most in over 2 months vs USD

* South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, April 14 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korean shares extended gains on Wednesday to a near three-month closing high as buying by foreign investors offset worries over the country’s rising COVID-19 infections. The won jumped most in over two months, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

** The KOSPI ended 13.30 points, or 0.42%, higher at 3,182.38, its highest close since Jan. 25, having gained in the past two sessions.

** Among heavyweights, Samsung Electronics ended flat, while battery makers LG Chem and Samsung SDI rose 3.34% and 1.01%, respectively.

** LG Electronics jumped to its one-week high on reports the company’s joint venture with automotive supplier Magna International Inc is close to signing contracts with Apple Inc.

** South Korea reported 731 new coronavirus cases as of Tuesday midnight, its highest daily tally since early January.

** “As concerns over inflation and early tapering eased, investors’ focus will shift towards corporate earnings, while foreign inflow, following weak dollar, will be eyed,” said Samsung Securities’ analyst Seo Jung-hoon.

** Foreigners were net buyers of 104.6 billion won ($93.74 million) worth of shares on the main board.

** U.S. consumer price index for March rose 0.6%, logging the biggest increase since August 2012, but Treasury bond yields eased as data showed the pace of inflation was not rising wildly.

** The won ended at 1,116.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.83% higher than its previous close at 1,125.9, the sharpest daily gain since Feb. 10.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,116.0 per dollar, up 0.5% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,116.0.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 3.5 basis points to 1.104%. ($1 = 1,115.8800 won) (Reporting by Joori Roh; Additional reporting by Jihoon Lee; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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