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Banks, ships help offset rise of China’s key rate

Mar 20,2007
Korean stocks began the week on a positive note, as strong performances by financial and shipbuilding shares led the upward drive. The benchmark Kospi index gained 15.15 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 1,443.39.
“The local market shrugged off the effect of China’s decision to raise interest rates,” said Kim Hak-kyun, an analyst at Korea Investment and Securities. China’s central bank on Saturday lifted its key interest rate for the first time in 11 months to slow inflation and cool investment. “Financial gains led the market as such issues staged a technical rebound from recent steep corrections,” Mr. Kim added.
Blue chip shares were strong. Though tech giant Samsung Electronics slipped 0.3 percent to 587,000 won ($622), financial shares led the way for the day.
The biggest lender, Kookmin Bank, went up 3.9 percent, and its archrival, Shinhan Financial Group, climbed 3 percent. Korea Exchange Bank gained 2.1 percent, and Woori Finance Holdings, 2 percent.
Shipbuilders also enjoyed brisk trading on a bright outlook for the industry. Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipyard, rose 5 percent, and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard, the world’s No. 4 shipbuilder, gained 6 percent. LG.Philips LCD, the world’s second-largest maker of liquid crystal displays, rose 6.1 percent on expectations of a recovery in the display industry.
Steel shares dropped, affected by China’s rate hike. Top steelmaker Posco lost 0.9 percent, and Hyundai Steel shed 1.1 percent.
Advancers trounced decliners 528 to 230. Volume was 276.5 million shares for 2.8 trillion won.
The Kosdaq went up 12.5 points, or 2 percent, to close at 643.89. NHN gained 1.2 percent, Hanarotelecom rose 4 percent, and Asiana Airlines climbed 3 percent.
Advancers outpaced decliners at 678 to 232. Volume was 790.1 million shares worth 2.2 trillion won.


By Yoo Jee-ho Staff Writer [jeeho@joongang.co.kr]



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