* Daelim Industrial's Q1 profit restores some confidence
* Benchmark supported by domestic investors' net buying
* Celltrion down 13.4 pct after previous session's gains
By Joyce Lee
SEOUL, April 17 Seoul shares inched up
on Wednesday as the beleaguered construction sector received a
boost from better-than-expected first-quarter profits by Daelim
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI)
closed up 0.1 percent at 1,923.84 points, hovering for
the fourth session near the 1,920 mark, or roughly where KOSPI
shares' total price equals their trailing twelve-month book
"There was a lot of doubt about first-quarter corporate
earnings, especially concerning construction firms, but Daelim
Industrial's strong results restored investor confidence
somewhat," said Lim Jong-pil, an analyst at Hyundai Securities.
Shares in the construction sector closed up 0.4
percent, after retreating as much as 4.9 percent during trading,
as Daelim Industrial beat market expectations with first-quarter
operating profits of 124 billion won ($111.20 million) after
The outlook for South Korean builders had soured since last
week as GS Construction and Samsung Engineering
reported first-quarter operating losses of 219.8
billion won and 535 billion won, respectively.
"Daelim stuck to orders it knows how to do in a region it's
familiar with -- the Middle East. But Samsung Engineering and GS
Construction hit a learning curve as they expanded into new
regions such as the U.S and took up unfamiliar projects," said
Kang Seung-min, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.
Shares in Daelim Industrial rose 7 percent, although
Samsung Engineering closed flat and GS Construction slid 2.9
Overall, local institutional and retail investors bought a
net 239.7 billion won worth of KOSPI shares, which offset
foreign selling and underpinned the main board. Gainers
outnumbered decliners 414 to 397.
Other large-caps were mixed, with index heavyweight Samsung
Electronics closing down 0.7 percent.
Among other notable movers, shares in biopharmaceutical firm
Celltrion Inc plunged 13.4 percent, after closing up
5.1 percent in the previous session. Shares in affiliate
Celltrion Pharm Inc dropped by the daily trading
limit of 15 percent.
Trading has been volatile after Celltrion's president said
on Tuesday he will seek a buyer among multinational drug makers
for his controlling interest in the biotechnology company.
Celltrion is the biggest and most profitable firm in the
country's second-tier KOSDAQ market, with a market
capitalisation of $4.2 billion.
The KOSPI 200 benchmark of core stocks closed down
0.1 percent, while the junior KOSDAQ also edged 0.1
Move on day +0.1 percent
12-month high 2,031.10 2 January 2013
12-month low 1,769.31 25 July 2012
Change on yr -5.3 percent
All-time high 2,231.47 27 April 2011
All-time low 93.10 6 January 1981
($1 = 1115.0750 Korean won)
(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)