January 24, 2019 / 7:46 AM / 4 months ago

S.Korean chip shares boost market; won eases on BOK comments

* KOSPI index rises, foreigners buy most since late-Sept 2018

* Korean won edges lower against USD

* South Korea bond yields up

* For the midday report, please click

SEOUL, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Round-up of South Korean financial markets:

** South Korea’s KOSPI stock index rose on Thursday as foreigners piled into beaten-down shares of the country’s chipmakers. The Korean currency won slid after the nation’s central bank lowered its growth forecast for 2019. Bond yields rose.

** South Korea’s central bank trimmed its 2019 growth forecast to a seven-year low while keeping its policy rate unchanged on Thursday, reinforcing expectations it could stand pat for some time amid conflicting risks to the economy.

** The KOSPI was up 17.25 points or 0.81 percent at 2,145.03, extending its gain to a second day.

** Even though SK Hynix posted a poor earnings result, well below market expectation, foreigners were net buyers of chip shares in a grand scale, lifting the KOSPI market, said Lee Kyoung-min, an analyst at Daishin Securities.

** Foreigners still seem to focus on share price versus valuation in the semiconductor market, Lee added.

** South Korean chip giants led gains in the market with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and SK Hynix Inc climbing 2.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.

** The world’s second-biggest memory chipmaker, South Korea’s SK Hynix, posted fourth-quarter profit well below market expectations on Thursday, but its shares rebounded from recent falls due to hopes the global chip market is nearing the bottom, analysts said.

** The company flagged a tough first half due to U.S.-China trade frictions and China’s slowing economy, as its fourth-quarter profit missed market expectations on Thursday.

** South Korea’s biggest carmaker Hyundai Motor, the world’s No. 5 automaker along with affiliate Kia Motors Corp , surprised the market on Thursday by swinging to its first quarterly net loss since at least 2011 as its vehicle sales skidded in the key China market.

** While the company reported a net loss of 129.8 billion won ($114.95 million) for the fourth quarter ended in December, its net profit tumbled 63 percent to 1.5 trillion won, marking its sixth consecutive annual net profit fall.

** Hyundai Motor earlier in the day said it signed MoU with Vietnamese firm Thanh Cong Group to set up a sales joint venture in Vietnam, adding that it plans to expand production capacity at the joint venture to 100,000 vehicles by 2020 from current 60,000.

** South Korea’s cosmetics firm Able C&C Co Ltd ended 5.6 percent higher after it announced to acquire 60 percent stake each in two local firms JEA H&B and GM Holdings. The stake purchases are worth 55.2 billion won ($48.85 million) for JEA H&B and 40 billion won ($35.40 million) for GM Holdings, the company added.

** Doosan Infracore Co Ltd on its website said on Thursday that it won orders in Chile and Myanmar to supply construction machinery equipment, adding that its orders from emerging markets last year were worth 898 billion won ($795.11 million).

** Hyundai Rotem Co said in a regulatory filing just before the market closed that its fourth-quarter operating profit dropped 807 percent from a year earlier, while it added that the company’s annual operating profit turned red last year. Hyundai Rotem closed down 1.8 percent.

** The won was quoted at 1,128.6 per dollar on the onshore settlement platform, 0.12 percent weaker than its previous close at 1,127.3, snapping gains from the previous session.

** “Going forward the Board expects domestic economic growth to fall slightly short of the path projected in October, but to sustain a rate that does not diverge significantly from its potential level due to increased government expenditures for example,” South Korea’s central bank said on Thursday.

** In offshore trading, the won was quoted at 1,128.12 per U.S. dollar, down 0.24 percent from the previous day, while in one-year non-deliverable forwards it was being transacted at 1,111.8 per dollar.

** MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.34 percent, after U.S. stocks ended the previous session with mild gains. Japanese stocks weakened 0.09 percent.

** The KOSPI is up around 4.2 percent so far this year, and up by 2.51 percent in the previous 30 days.

** The current price-to-earnings ratio is 12.10, the dividend yield is 1.28 percent and the market capitalisation is 1,242.04 trillion won.

** The trading volume during the session on the KOSPI index was 407,782,000 shares and, of the total traded issues of 896, the number of advancing shares was 491.

** Foreigners were net buyers of 495.82 billion won worth of shares, the most since Sept. 21, 2018.

** The U.S dollar has risen 1.33 percent against the won this year. The won’s high for the year is 1,113.81 per dollar on Jan. 11 and the low is 1,133.4 on Jan. 21 2019.

** In money and debt markets, March futures on three-year treasury bonds fell 0.01 points to 109.28.

** The Korean 3-month Certificate of Deposit benchmark rate was quoted at 1.86 percent, while the benchmark 3-year Korean treasury bond yielded 1.81 percent, higher than the previous day’s 1.80 percent. (Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

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