1. South Korea won’s gain capped by North Korea worries, market cautious

South Korea won’s gain capped by North Korea worries, market cautious

The South Korean won traded flat early on Monday as tensions following North Korea's missile test offset support from a weaker dollar.

By: | Published: May 15, 2017 9:02 AM
The won stood at 1,126.3 against the dollar as of 0232 GMT, up 0.1 percent compared to the previous close of 1,127.4.

The South Korean won traded flat early on Monday as tensions following North Korea’s missile test offset support from a weaker dollar. The won stood at 1,126.3 against the dollar as of 0232 GMT, up 0.1 percent compared to the previous close of 1,127.4. South Korea’s military said more analysis was needed to verify North Korea’s claim that it achieved technical advancement during Sunday’s test launch of a ballistic missile.

“North Korea issue is capping further gains in the local currency and the market participants are expected to continue cautious trading,” said Jung Sung-yoon, a foreign exchange analyst at Hyundai Futures. The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged up 0.1 percent at 2,288.44 points.

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Offshore investors were poised to be net sellers, offloading 123.8 billion won ($110.01 million) worth of KOSPI shares near mid-session.

Shares of security software companies listed on the junior Kosdaq Index soared after the spread of malicious ransomware worm around the world. ESTsoft Corp jumped 30 pct, the single-day trading limit, hitting its highest since Aug. 25, 2016. Ahnlab Inc rose 12 pct, while Hancom Secure Inc climbed 14 percent.

South Korea said there have been nine cases of ransomware found in the country so far, but did not provide details on where the cyber attacks were discovered. Market heavyweight SK Hynix Inc gained more than 1 percent. Decliners outnumbered advancers 446 to 356. June futures on three-year treasury bonds gained 0.06 point to 109.39.

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