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Focus on exports spurs Kospi to higher ground

Apr 12,2008
Korea’s main stock market ended higher yesterday as institutions picked up tech, auto and other export-focused shares, analysts said.
The benchmark Kospi climbed 15.07 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,779.71. Volume was moderate at 249 million shares worth 5.4 trillion won ($5.5 billion) with gainers outpacing losers, 444 to 346.
“Buoyed by overnight gains in U.S. stocks, the market opened higher and kept the upward momentum on sharp gains in tech, auto and other export-driven companies,” said Park Seok-hyun, an analyst at Eugene Investment and Securities. “Rises in neighboring Asian markets also helped the market move into positive territory by bolstering investor sentiment.”
Tech issues drove the market higher, with chip makers gaining substantially on expectations that computer-memory chip prices will rebound soon, helping boost their profitability.
Global leader Samsung Electronics jumped 3.7 percent to 680,000 won, with its market capitalization exceeding 100 trillion won for the first time in 9 months. Its smaller rival Hynix Semiconductor surged 4.7 percent.
Auto shares advanced sharply as investors deemed such unfavorable factors as steel price hikes have already been priced in after No. 1 steelmaker Posco announced a price increase for its products the previous day, analysts said.
No. 1 carmaker Hyundai Motor added 4.7 percent. Its affiliate Kia Motors soared 9.2 percent on improved earnings prospects and rumors that a major brokerage firm has purchased a 6 percent stake in the nation’s second-largest automaker.
The secondary Kosdaq index declined 0.81 points, or 0.1 percent, to 651.87.
Online companies led the day’s drop. Daum Communications, which runs Korea’s third-most visited Web site, plunged 9.2 percent, the steepest fall since Aug. 16. Daewoo Securities said in a note that a decline in the company’s operating profit is “inevitable’’ because of lower advertising revenue and higher labor costs.
Yonhap, Bloomberg


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