Shares for ships and steel soar after slump

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Shares for ships and steel soar after slump

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Foreign currency dealers at Korea Exchange Bank monitor the won’s movement versus the dollar yesterday in Seoul. [YONHAP]


Korean stocks closed 5.8 percent higher yesterday, breaking an eight-session losing streak, as bargain hunters snapped up beaten-down shipyard and steel issues.

The benchmark Kospi soared 55.04 points to 1,003.73 after dipping as low as 914 in early trading. Volume was heavy at 592.1 million shares worth 5 trillion won (3.34 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 651 to 195. The Korea Exchange, the nation’s bourse operator, suspended program trading early on for five minutes after the main index futures prices rose more than 5 percent. It marked the 22nd such emergency break this year.

“Despite the market opening lower on overnight U.S. stock losses, the Kospi’s consecutive losses for the past eight sessions seem to have created price merit, especially among shipbuilding and steel shares,” said Lim Dong-min, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.

Shipbuilders gained ground after falling in the past few sessions on fears that possible industry-wide restructuring may negatively affect their earnings. Hyundai Heavy Industries soared 14.8 percent and Samsung Heavy Industries also climbed 15 percent. Hyundai Heavy Industries the world’s largest shipbuilder, said orders dropped 57 percent last month as demand for new vessels dried up. Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering picked up 14.8 percent.

The top steelmaker surged 7.7 percent and the nation’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor jumped 14.8 percent. But the nation’s No. 1 mobile service provider, SK Telecom, edged down 0.2 percent and KT, the largest telephone service firm, fell 0.3 percent.

Tech exporters and financials also managed to recoup earlier losses. Samsung Electronics gained 4.5 percent to finish at 442,000 won and LG Electronics soared 11 percent. Yonhap
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