Samsung Elec rally, U.S. stimulus lift S.Korea stocks to record high

    * KOSPI rises, foreigners net sellers
    * KRW strengthens against USD
    * S.Korea benchmark bond yield rises

    SEOUL, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial
    ** South Korean shares jumped to a record high on Monday,
driven by market heavyweight Samsung Electronics and as U.S.
President Donald Trump signed a long-awaited coronavirus aid
bill. Both the won and the benchmark bond yield rose.
    ** The benchmark KOSPI         was up 14.73 points, or
0.52%, at 2,821.59 by 0152 GMT, after rising as much as 1% in
early trade.
    ** Trump on Sunday signed into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic
aid and spending package, officials said, restoring unemployment
benefits to millions of Americans and averting a partial federal
government shutdown.             
    ** The U.S. stimulus news outweighed worries over South
Korea reporting the first variant of coronavirus linked to the
rapid rise in infections in Britain in three people. There were
808 new COVID-19 cases for Sunday.             
    ** "Samsung shares soared a day before the ex-dividend date
on massive buying by retail investors," said Na Jeong-hwan, an
analyst at DS Investment & Securities, adding that the discovery
of the new coronavirus variant at home might weigh on markets.
    ** Chip giant Samsung Electronics             jumped as much
as 2.96% on continued dividend hopes.             
    ** Peer SK Hynix             was up 0.9%. Other market 
heavyweights Hyundai Motor             and Celltrion            
rose 1.1% and 1.4%, respectively.
    ** Foreigners were net sellers of 126.6 billion won ($115.16
million) worth of shares on the main board.
    ** The won was quoted at 1,099.5 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.32% higher than its previous
close at 1,103.0.
    ** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at
1,099.3, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month
contract               was quoted at 1,097.0.
    ** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year
treasury bonds         fell 0.02 points to 111.51.
    ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by
0.7 basis point to 0.957%.

($1 = 1,099.3000 won)

 (Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)