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Chip makers up after good news in Japan

Apr 01,2008
Korea’s benchmark Kospi ended slightly higher yesterday, closing up 2.16 points, or 0.1 percent, at 1,703.99. The index was helped by foreign investors who net purchased almost 200 billion won ($202 million) worth of shares.
“Despite U.S. stock losses on Friday, Elpida Memory’s decision to raise chip prices seemed to have boosted investor sentiment toward South Korean chip makers as well,” said Kim Young-gak, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
Yukio Sakamoto, CEO of Japan’s largest memory maker Elpida, said earlier in the day that the company plans to raise its chip prices by 20 percent in April.
Prices of dynamic random access memories, or DRAMs, have been at record lows this year after slumping 85 percent in 2007 on a global supply glut, according to Dramexchange Technology, Asia’s biggest spot market for chips.
Korean chip makers gained ground on Elpida’s announcement. Samsung Electronics, the world’s leading computer memory chip producer, advanced 1.6 percent to 623,000 won. Hynix Semiconductor jumped 5.9 percent. LG Electronics, lost 2.3 percent.
Construction and steel shares were also upbeat. Hyundai Engineering and Construction, the No. 2 builder, gained 1.5 percent, and leading steelmaker Posco added 0.5 percent. Hyundai Steel gained 0.6 percent. Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, was down 0.7 percent.
Financial stocks showed weaker performances. Top lender Kookmin Bank slid 0.9, and Shinhan Financial Group, the No. 2 financial group, edged down 0.4 percent. Woori Finance Holdings rose 0.6 percent, while leading nonlife insurer Samsung Fire and Marine tumbled 3.1 percent. Hyundai Marine and Fire Insurance tumbled 6.1 percent.
Volume was moderate at 288 million shares worth 4.6 trillion won, with losers outpacing gainers, 393 to 383.


By Seo Ji-eun Staff Reporter [spring@joongang.co.kr]


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