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S.Korea stocks fall as domestic infections curb recovery optimism

    * KOSPI edges down, foreigners net sellers
    * Korean won weakens against U.S. dollar
    * South Korea benchmark bond yield falls

    SEOUL, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
markets:
    
    ** South Korean shares slid on Friday as surging coronavirus
infections at home continued to dampen sentiment, despite
investors growing more optimistic about another U.S. stimulus
aid. The Korean won and the benchmark bond yield weakened.
    
    ** The benchmark KOSPI         fell 1.67 points, or 0.06%,
to 2,768.76, as of 0154 GMT, after rising as high as 0.4% in
early trade.
    
    ** South Korea reported 1,062 new coronavirus cases on
Friday, the second highest since it confirmed its first
infection in January, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention
Agency (KDCA) said.             
    
    ** As the coronavirus pandemic roared to new record highs
across the United States, it lit a fire in the U.S. Congress,
where Republicans and Democrats were scrambling to pass a new
round of aid after months of partisan finger-pointing and
inaction.             
    
    ** Major heavyweights slid, with chip giants Samsung
Electronics             and SK Hynix             declining 0.4%
and 1.7%, respectively.
    
    ** Foreigners were net sellers of 81.1 billion won ($73.89
million) worth of shares on the main board. 
    
    ** The won was quoted at 1,095.5 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.20% lower than its previous
close at 1,093.3.
    
    ** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at 1,098.0
per dollar, down 0.5% from the previous session, while in
non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract
              was quoted at 1,096.5.
    
    ** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         was unchanged at 111.39, while the
3-month Certificate of Deposit rate was quoted at 0.66%.

    ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by
0.3 basis points to 0.998%, while the benchmark 10-year yield
fell by 0.3 basis points to 1.731%.
    
    ($1 = 1,097.5600 won)

 (Reporting by Joori Roh, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
  
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