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KOSPI spikes 1.5 pct on Samsung, upbeat earnings forecast

All Headlines 15:56 January 11, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks vaulted 1.5 percent to the highest level in 18 months Wednesday as foreign investors scooped up Samsung Electronics, the country's top market cap, and other market heavyweights on upbeat earnings forecasts. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) advanced 30.05 points, or 1.49 percent, to close at 2,075.17, the highest since July 21, 2015, when the comparable figure was 2,083.62 points.

Trade volume was moderate at 331 million shares worth 4.42 trillion won (US$3.69 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 428 to 370.

The local stock market opened a tad higher. Samsung Electronics continued to build up gains on better-than-expected earnings guidance, with other major market players, such as SK hynix and POSCO, surging more than 3 percent.

"The KOSPI will attempt to take a further rise on the back of foreign buying," said Kim Sung-hwan, an analyst at Bookuk Securities. "Upbeat corporate earnings may help the local stock market fare well down the road."

Foreign investors bought a net 484 billion won, extending their buying streak to an 11th day, while institutional and retail investors sold a net 54 billion won and 431 billion won, respectively.

Samsung Electronics finished at a fresh record high of 1,914,000 won, up 2.79 percent from the previous session's close.

Last week, Samsung Electronics expected its fourth-quarter operating profit to have jumped about 50 percent on-year, beating market expectations as strong sales of chips and displays appeared to help offset losses from a global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones.

Operating profit is estimated at 9.2 trillion won in the October-December period, up 49.84 percent from the same quarter of 2015, according to Samsung.

SK hynix, a major chipmaker, also jumped 3.72 percent to finish at a yearly high of 51,600 won on a surge in chip prices.

POSCO, the country's leading steelmaker, soared 7.82 percent to end at 269,000 won, and utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. gained 2.25 percent to 43,200 won.

LG Chem, the country's No. 1 chemicals firm, advanced 4.67 percent to end at 280,000 won, and SK Innovation, the leading oil refiner, surged 2.57 percent to end at 159,500 won.

Automakers, however, remained in negative terrain.

Auto industry leader Hyundai Motor shed 2.3 percent to 148,500 won, while its smaller affiliate Kia Motors fell 0.49 percent to 40,300 won.

The local currency closed at 1,196.40 won against the U.S. dollar, down 1.8 won from the previous session's close.

sam@yna.co.kr
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