Candidates’ meeting sends stocks up

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Candidates’ meeting sends stocks up

With independent Ahn Cheol-soo known to have met the Democratic United Party’s Moon Jae-in to discuss merging their bids for office yesterday, the prices of stocks either directly or tangentially related to both men rose by varying degrees.

AhnLab, Korea’s largest antivirus firm that Ahn founded, was the biggest gainer. It closed at 66,800 won ($61.20), up 7.57 percent, or 4,700 won, from the previous trading day. This extended its rally to a fourth day in tandem with growing speculation by political observers that the time is ripe for Moon and Ahn to consolidate their candidacies.

Barunson, a local stationery maker linked to Moon, closed at 4,410 won, up 2.1 percent from Monday. Barunson is one of the most high-profile companies known to have received legal consultation from a firm Moon formerly worked for.

Wooridul Life Science, also linked to Moon, saw its share price jump 2 percent to 3,110 won.

Showing the often tangential links between stocks tied to the upcoming election and the candidates, the largest shareholder of Wooridul once provided medical consultations to former President Roh Moo-hyun, who Moon served as chief of staff.

Meanwhile, stocks related to Saenuri Party candidate Park Geun-hye slipped.

Shares of Agabang & Company, which makes clothes for toddlers, slipped 1.9 percent to close at 10,300 won. Agabang popped up on investors’ radars after Park expressed her will to tackle the nation’s low birthrate.

Stocks of Boryung Medience, a manufacturer of baby care products, shed 2 percent.

“Politically themed stocks tend to surge irrespective of their fundamentals, so investors should be wary of this as they could pop at any time ahead of the Dec. 19 election,” said an official at the Financial Supervisory Service. “Investors should examine companies’ long-term growth potential.”

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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