S.Korean stocks climb as U.S. resumes stimulus talks

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

    SEOUL, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
** South Korean shares rose on Wednesday as the U.S. Congress
moved towards a stimulus package and the deployment of vaccines
continued, tempering concerns over a record number of COVID-19
cases. The Korean won and the benchmark bond yield strengthened.
** By 0223 GMT, the benchmark KOSPI         was up 9.92 points,
or 0.36%, at 2,766.74. 
** Hopes of U.S. stimulus package is leading to a buoyant
session in South Korea and investors seem to be more focused on
vaccine hopes rather than the rising number of coronavirus cases
at home, says Na Jeong-hwan, an analyst at DS Investment &

** Top U.S. congressional leaders started a second meeting on
Tuesday to try to end a months-long standoff on coronavirus
relief and finalize a funding bill in time to avert a government
shutdown at the weekend.             
** Investors cheered South Korean prime minister's pledge to
secure more hospital beds to handle a record surge in
coronavirus cases and blunt a corresponding spike in deaths.
** Moderna Inc's          COVID-19 vaccine appeared set for
regulatory authorization this week after U.S. Food and Drug
Administration staff endorsed it as safe and effective in
documents released Tuesday.                
** Hyundai Motor             rose 0.8%, Samsung Biologics
            gained 1.5%         
** Foreigners were net sellers of 85.2 billion won worth of
shares on the main board. 
** The won was quoted at 1,092.5 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.07% higher than its previous
close at 1,093.3.
** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,092.3 per
dollar, down 0.3% from the previous session, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,091.7.
** The won gained 5.8% against the dollar so far this year.
** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         was unchanged at 111.49.
** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 0.1
basis points to 0.984%, while the benchmark 10-year yield rose
by 0.5 basis points to 1.677%.

 (Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Additional reporting by Jihoon Lee,
Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)