S.Korean stocks end higher on Kakao boost, recovery hopes

* KOSPI rises, foreigners net buyers

* Korean won weakens against U.S. dollar

* South Korea benchmark bond yield rises

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, April 15 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korean shares rose on Thursday, led by a surge in Kakao following its stock split, and as foreigners raised their positions on hopes for a swifter economic recovery. The won inched down, while the benchmark bond yield rose.

** The benchmark KOSPI closed up 11.95 points, or 0.38%, to 3,194.33.

** Among heavyweights, chip giants Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix rose 0.12% and 0.36% each, while battery maker LG Chem fell 0.67%.

** Kakao Corp surged as much as 18.7% to a record high as it returned to trading after conducting a 5-for-1 stock split.

** LG Electronics jumped 4.02%, extending gains on reports that its JV with Magna International Inc was close to signing contracts with Apple Inc to build electric vehicles.

** Foreigners were net buyers of 265.8 billion won worth of shares on the main board.

** The latest Beige Book showed that the U.S. recovery accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April buoyed by consumption.

** Back home, the Bank of Korea kept interest rates steady at record lows and said it was too early to discuss a change in the direction of monetary policy, even as it sounded more upbeat on growth and expected inflation to accelerate.

** The won ended at 1,117.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.09% lower than its previous close at 1,116.6.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,117.1 per dollar, down 0.1% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,116.9.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by 4.7 basis points to 1.149%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose by 3.8 basis points to 2.028%. (Reporting by Joori Roh; editing by Uttaresh.V)