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(LEAD) SK hynix hits all-time high on improved market outlook

All News 15:58 January 08, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES data in 2nd para, CHANGES photo)
By Chung Joo-won

SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- Shares in SK hynix Inc., the world's second-largest DRAM maker, traded at an all-time high on Wednesday on expectations that the chipmaking sector is set to improve this year after bottoming out in the fourth quarter of last year.

SK hynix finished at 97,400 won (US$83.18) on Wednesday, up 3.62 percent from the previous session's close, bucking a 1.11 percent dip in the benchmark KOSPI. The shares touched a record high of 99,500 won at 11:15 a.m., the highest-ever quotation.

(LEAD) SK hynix hits all-time high on improved market outlook - 1

Investors bet that the global chipmakers will see improving earnings down the road.

Earlier in the day, Samsung Electronics, the world's largest memory chipmaker, estimated its fourth-quarter operating income at 7.1 trillion won, down 34.26 percent from a year earlier. But the figure was well above the median market estimate of 6.5 trillion won.

The market estimate-beating earnings guidance came on the back of a slight recovery in chip prices and better-than-expected market response for its smartphones.

Contract prices for 8-gigabyte DRAM server modules, mostly used for PCs, held steady for the last three months of 2019, according to market tracker DRAMeXchange. NAND flash contract market prices posted a 10 percent on-year increase in December, according to the tracker.

Growing demand for memory chips has been long-awaited for SK hynix, whose business centers around chipmaking, unlike Samsung, whose business portfolio ranges from chipmaking to home appliances.

In the July-September period, SK hynix's net profit plunged 89 percent to 495.5 billion won from a year ago.

Its third-quarter sales plunged 40 percent on-year to 6.8 trillion won, and operating profit plummeted 93 percent to 472.6 billion won, the lowest since the second quarter of 2016.


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