SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea's top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, has entered the top ten stocks by market capitalization on a stellar quarterly performance, data showed Wednesday.
The homegrown tech giant's market cap rose to 18.63 trillion won (US$15.19 billion) as of 10:31 a.m., making it the 10th largest on the main bourse.
The company is close behind South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor Co., which is 9th with a market cap of 19.7 trillion won.
Samsung C&T Corp., a construction affiliate of Samsung Group, mobile carrier SK Telecom slid to the 11th and 12th spots, with market caps of 18.61 trillion won and 16.84 trillion won, respectively.
Kakao gained clout on the local stock market thanks to its earnings surprise in the January-March period. The company boasted limited fallout from the COVID-19's market disruptions, as its mobile-intensive products and e-commerce do not depend on human contact.
In the three-month period, Kakao's net profit reached 79.9 billion won, compared with 17.6 billion won a year earlier, according to the company's regulatory filing.
Its sales jumped by 23 percent on-year to reach a record high of 868.4 billion won, and its operating income more than tripled to a record high of 88.2 billion won over the cited period.
The company attributed the stellar performance to robust growth of new services, such as payment and e-commerce, linked to its mobile messenger KakaoTalk.
Kakao's stock price soared to a 52-week intraday high of 216,500 won on Tuesday, after hitting the yearly bottom of 127,500 won on March 19 on foreigners' coronavirus panic selling.
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