S.Korea stocks boosted by Kakao, LG Electronics

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

    SEOUL, April 15 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean
financial markets:
    ** South Korean shares rose on Thursday, led by a surge in
Kakao on stock split and on hopes of a swifter economic recovery
in the United States. Both the won and the benchmark bond yield
    ** The benchmark KOSPI         climbed 19.84 points, or
0.62%, to 3,202.22 by 0118 GMT.
    ** Among heavyweights, chip giants Samsung Electronics
            and SK Hynix             rose 0.60% and 0.73%,
respectively, while internet giant Naver             added
    ** 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.             
    ** The latest Beige Book showed that the U.S. recovery
accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April
buoyed by consumption, while the Fed reiterated that it was
highly unlikely to raise interest rates before the end of 2022.
    ** The Bank of Korea held interest rates at record lows on
Thursday as policymakers worry rising coronavirus cases could
derail the economic recovery even as they keep an eye on
building price pressures.             
    ** The country reported 698 new coronavirus cases, down from
731 a day earlier when it logged the highest daily tally since
early January.
    ** Foreigners were net buyers of 96.1 billion won worth of
shares on the main board. 
    ** The won was quoted at 1,115.8 per dollar on the onshore
settlement platform           , 0.07% higher than its previous
close at 1,116.6.
    ** In offshore trading, the won        was quoted at
1,116.1, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month
contract               was quoted at 1,115.8.
    ** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield rose by
0.8 basis point to 1.110%.

 (Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)