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Korean stocks up on Samsung's rally

Jan. 26, 2017 - 17:26 By 신용배

South Korean shares ended higher Thursday as foreigners went on a buying spree of market heavyweights, such as top cap Samsung Electronics. The local currency rose against the US dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added
16.65 points, or 0.81 percent, to 2,083.59. Trade volume came to
254.64 million shares worth 4.26 trillion won ($3.67 billion), with advancers outnumbering decliners 560 to 255.

Foreigner investors bought a net 348.21 billion won worth of local stocks, while institutions and individuals net-sold 179.37 billion won and 215.59 billion won, respectively.

The KOSPI opened higher, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street. On Wednesday (New York time), the Dow Jones industrial average advanced to breach the 20,000 mark for the first time. 

"The market moved in upward momentum on the back of an upbeat mood in the U.S. market. However, some other stocks were mixed across the board due to uncertainty over the protectionism policy of US President Donald Trump," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daeshin Investment & Securities, 

Samsung Electronics again reached a new record high of 1,995,000 won, gaining 1.27 percent on the company's announcement of market forecast-beating earnings for the fourth quarter of last year.

Samsung Electronics' stock price (Yonhap)

The upward momentum comes after the tech giant announced that its operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2016 jumped 50.11 percent on-year, thanks to rising prices of semiconductors and display panels. 

 Also, market watchers say that Samsung will continue its positive rally as it is forecast to experience high earnings in semiconductors and display panels.

 SK hynix also spiked 3.09 percent to 53,300 won, extending its winning streak to a fourth day, on an upbeat announcement of its fourth-quarter earnings. 

 The global chipmaker said its operating profit for the fourth quarter of last year jumped 55.3 percent on-year thanks to a steady recovery in memory chip prices.

Top chemical producer LG Chem also surged 2.47 percent to 270,000 won on the back of its market forecast-beating earnings report. The company said that its net profit increased 11.5 percent last year from a year earlier on steady demand for its key products, particularly basic materials.

On the other hand, top portal operator Naver lost 1.31 percent to 753,000 won and AmorePacific, the No. 1 cosmetics maker, fell 2 percent to 318,500 won.

The local currency closed at 1,159.20 won against the US dollar, up 6.8 won from Wednesday's close.

The KOSPI will be closed from Friday to next Monday for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed sharply lower. The yield on three-year Treasurys added 4 basis points to 1.687 percent and the return on the benchmark five-year government bond increased 5.3 basis points to 1.876 percent. (Yonhap)