By Chung Joo-won
SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) – Shares in South Korean game publisher NCSOFT Corp. traded at an all-time high Wednesday on strong foreign buying, buoyed by expectations of record high earnings in the current quarter.
NCSOFT stocks were trading at 592,000 won (US$503.61) as of 10:35 a.m., down 0.34 percent from the previous session's close, after touching a record high of 596,000 won Tuesday, the highest-ever quotation. From Dec. 9-Jan. 7, NCSOFT jumped 10 percent.
Foreigners, who held 50.27 percent of NCSOFT shares as of Tuesday, net bought 138.3 billion won worth of NCSOFT stocks during the cited period.
The foreigners' net purchase is the fourth largest after Samsung Electronics' 909.3 billion won, SK hynix's 625.5 billion won and Samsung Electro-Mechanic's 269.9 billion won.
The rally has been driven by rosy earnings outlook for the first quarter of the year.
According to Bloomberg consensus, the company is expected to post sales of 2.46 trillion won in 2020, up 46 percent from the previous year, and yearly operating profit of 981 billion won, almost doubling over the cited period.
NCSOFT's operating profit growth marks the fastest among all of its global top peers, including China's Tencent, Japan's Nintendo and U.S. Activision Blizzard.
In late November, NCSOFT released "Lineage 2M," a new mobile massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). "Lineage 2M" is the latest entry of NCSOFT's flagship "Lineage" series, featuring full 3-D graphics and 4K UHD resolution.
The game garnered high popularity among game lovers at home and overseas, becoming the No. 1 game on Google's Android and Apple's iOS devices on the day of release.
"NCSOFT has attracted strong foreign buying recently, since its (earning) potential is considered uncontestable, far above its global competitors," Mirae Asset Daewoo analyst Kim Chang-kwean said.
"NCSOFT's Lineage M's strong revenue is expected to continue throughout 2020, and we'll see Lineage 2M's good performance fully reflected in the upcoming (January-March) quarterly earnings report."
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