Stocks Shake Off U.S. Profit Taking

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Stocks Shake Off U.S. Profit Taking

Share prices in Seoul turned slightly higher Monday, bucking Friday's losses on Wall Street. The benchmark index rose 0.8 percent, led by gains in key semiconductor issues.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index ended the session up 4.65 points to 560.94, after moving between 566.47 and 556.52. Trading was active with 420 million shares changing hands; daily turnover reached 1.8 trillion won ($1.4 billion).

Losers topped gainers 423 to 356, with 72 issues unchanged. Twenty-two stocks jumped by the daily limit of 15 percent, and four fell by that limit.

"The U.S. Nasdaq's 0.9-percent dip Friday did not affect the local market much because investors took it as profit-taking following gains," said an analyst at Daishin Securities Co.

Leading the day's modest climb, Samsung Electronics Co. added 1.1 percent to 227,000 won, after the chipmaker reported first quarter pretax profits of 1.2 trillion won ($912 million). Although the result was down 5.5 percent from the previous quarter, analysts said it beat expectations.

Hynix Semiconductor Inc. was up 3.7 percent at 3,405 won. It was the day's most heavily-traded stock, with 86.6 million shares traded.

Trigem Computers Inc., which makes one of the best-selling personal computers in the U.S., was up by the day's limit at 7,360 won on expectations that its U.S. sales will pick up.

Dacom Corp., a long-distance and Internet service provider, soared by the daily limit to 35,950 won. Dacom is expected to announce a sweeping restructuring plan Thursday.

Turning to bank shares, H&CB shed 1.1 percent to 23,150 won, after it and Kookmin Bank delayed the signing of their merger pact. Kookmin Bank was unchanged at 14,100 won. Trading in the two banks was suspended at 1:30 p.m. after it was apparent the merger signing would be delayed.

The Kosdaq also turned upward on foreign and local institutional buying. The composite index added 2.38 points, or 3.2 percent, closing at 75.88.

Large-capitalized stocks rallied, pushing up the index. Daum Communication Inc., a community Web portal, was up by the daily 12-percent limit at 34,150 won. Korea Telecom Freetel added 3.4 percent to 44,000 won, and LG Telecom Co. rose 3.9 percent to 5,020 won.

by Kim Hyun-chul

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