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S.Korea stocks flat as surging virus cases offset vaccine optimism

    * KOSPI rises, foreigners net buyers
    * Korean won strengthens against U.S. dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield rises

    SEOUL, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
markets:
 
    ** South Korean shares were little changed on Friday as
worries about surging coronavirus infections at home offset
optimism over more vaccine developments. The benchmark index,
however, was set to post its third straight weekly gain.
    ** The Korean won strengthened, and the benchmark bond yield
rose.
    ** By 0203 GMT, the benchmark KOSPI         rose 1.84
points, or 0.07%, to 2,549.26. 
    ** South Korea's prime minister on Friday warned of strict
COVID-19 curbs returning if the current level of infections was
not contained soon and pleaded with the public to avoid social
gathering.             
    ** AstraZeneca and Oxford University, however, helped boost
sentiment after they said on Thursday their potential COVID-19
vaccine produced a strong immune response in older adults.
            
    ** Adding to the uncertainty was Thursday's call by U.S.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to end pandemic relief for
struggling businesses.               
    ** Chipmaker SK Hynix          fell 1.12%, while Kia Motors
            declined 1.53%. Samsung Electronics             rose
0.15%.
    ** Foreigners were net buyers of 40.7 billion won worth of
shares on the main board.   
    ** The won was quoted at 1,114.1 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.13% higher than its previous
close at 1,115.6.
    ** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,114.2
per dollar, down 0.1% from the previous day, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,113.7.
    ** MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan                 was down 0.52%,.
    ** The KOSPI has risen 16.00% so far this year, and gained
6.7% in the previous 30 trading sessions.
    ** The trading volume during in the KOSPI index         was
496.01 million shares. Of the total traded issues of 905, the
number of advancing shares was 481.
    ** The won has gained 3.8% against the dollar so far this
year.
    ** In money and debt markets, December futures on three-year
treasury bonds         rose 0.01 points to 111.67.
    ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by
0.5 basis points to 0.959%, while the benchmark 10-year yield
rose by 1.1 basis points to 1.613%.

 (Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
  
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