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South Korea's listed companies to record highest-ever quarterly earnings in Q1

By Jennie Oh
A South Korean dealer works in front of monitors at the KEB Hana Bank in Seoul, South Korea, 09 March 2018. Photo by EPA-EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN.
A South Korean dealer works in front of monitors at the KEB Hana Bank in Seoul, South Korea, 09 March 2018. Photo by EPA-EFE/JEON HEON-KYUN.

SEOUL, March 15 (UPI) -- South Korea's benchmark KOSPI is set to record the highest-ever quarterly earnings, according to industry experts in Seoul.

Market tracker WISEfn said Thursday that companies listed on the benchmark index are expected to gain 52 trillion won ($48.8 billion) in operating profit and 3.8 trillion ($35.6 billion) in net profit for the first three months of 2018.

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The estimated figures top record quarterly earnings seen in the third quarter of 2017, when operating and net profit came to 42.9 trillion won ($40 billion) and 32.1 trillion won ($30 billion) respectively.

The biggest gains are expected to be seen in the gaming, electronic equipment, and semiconductor sectors.

Operating profit for the gaming software industry is set to increase 675 percent on-year to 307.5 billion ($288 million) in the January-to-March period.

Electronic equipment and machinery firms are likely to earn 289 billion won ($271 million), a 640.7 percent rise from last year, while chipmakers are expected to hit 4.4 trillion won ($4 billion), up 76.5 percent from a year earlier.

Energy, air transport and gas sectors are also expected to see big gains.

FnGuide's estimated figures for the first quarter show energy facilities and services firms are set to post a 16.4 percent rise in operating profit compared to the same period last year.

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Kumho Petrochemical's operating profit for the first quarter is expected jump 41.3 percent on year, while Asiana Airline is set to see a surge of 32 percent.

Lee Kyung-min, analyst at Daishin Securities says the KOSPI is likely to continue on an upward trend.

However, due to various uncertainties such as the United States' monetary policy and growing trade protectionism, he advises investors to concentrate on certain industries rather than the index as a whole.

"Semiconductors, IT and household electronics, chemicals and energy are sectors that are worth watching," he said, according to Asia Economic Daily.

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