S.Korean shares post highest close since early March on vaccine hopes

* KOSPI rises more than 2%, biggest in a month

* Foreigners net buyers after 6 days of selling

* Korean won strengthens versus U.S. dollar

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, May 19 (Reuters) – Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korean shares rose more than 2% on Tuesday to their highest close since early March after encouraging early-stage trial data from a potential coronavirus vaccine lifted hopes of a quicker economic recovery from the pandemic fallout. The Korean won strengthened, while the benchmark bond yield fell.

** The Seoul stock market’s main KOSPI closed up 43.50 points, or 2.25%, at 1,980.61, posting its highest close since March 6 and biggest daily gain in a month.

** Wall Street’s S&P 500 index closed at a 10-week high on Monday as U.S. drugmaker Moderna Inc surged after the company said its experimental COVID-19 vaccine showed promising results in a small early-stage trial.

** South Korea’s airline stocks led gains on the benchmark, with the biggest budget carrier Jeju Air Co Ltd rising nearly 10%. Korean Air Lines Co Ltd and Asiana Airlines Inc closed up 8% and 5%, respectively.

** Foreigners were net buyers of 331.1 billion won ($270.41 million) worth of shares on the main board, after six straight sessions of sell-offs.

** The won closed trading at 1,225.3 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.58% higher than its previous close at 1,232.4.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,224.2 per dollar, up 0.1% from the previous day, while in non-deliverable forward trading its one-month contract was quoted at 1,224.4.

** In money and debt markets, June futures on three-year treasury bonds rose 0.01 point to 112.03.

** The most liquid 3-year Korean treasury bond yield fell by 1.1 basis points to 0.876%, while the benchmark 10-year yield fell by 0.1 basis point to 1.391%.

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