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Seoul shares edge up on shipbuilders’ gains

South Korean stocks finished 0.32 percent higher on Tuesday as shipbuilders pushed the market slightly higher, despite a bleak forecast of Samsung Electronics’ fourth-quarter earnings. The South Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index rose 6.16 points, or 0.32 percent, to close at 1959.44. Trading volume was light at 190.8 million shares worth 3.6 trillion won ($3.4 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 511 to 275.

“Gains in shipbuilders by investors’ buying spree contributed to a slight rise in the market,” said Kang Hyun-gie at I’M Securities & Investment Co.

Despite its gloomy projection of fourth-quarter earnings, market leader Samsung Electronics fell only slightly as investors bet on what they see as still-robust fundamentals, he said.

Earlier in the day, Samsung Electronics estimated its fourth-quarter operating profit at 8.3 trillion won, down 6.11 percent from 8.84 trillion won a year ago.

However, Samsung Electronics fell a mere 0.23 percent to close at 1,304,000 won.

Shipbuilders led the market advance on the back of expectations that the recent upward trend of the South Korean won against the greenback would help them make profits.

Hyundai Heavy Industries rose 2.02 percent to 252,000 won, while Samsung Heavy Industries soared 4.09 percent to 38,200 won.

Hyundai Mipo Dockyard surged 5.78 percent to 183,000 won, and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering rose 4.1 percent to 36,800 won. Along with shipbuilders, auto shares contributed to the bearish market helped by foreign buying. Hyundai Motor rose 0.22 percent to 229,000 won, and Kia Motors gained 2.86 percent to 54,000 won.

The local currency ended at 1,068.30 won versus the greenback, down 2.90 won from Monday’s close as exporters sold their dollar holdings, dealers said. (Yonhap News)
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