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South Korea: Tech shares start post-holiday trade with surge on earnings hopes

[SEOUL] South Korean tech shares led by Samsung Electronics soared early on Tuesday, catching up with gains made by global stock markets after a break of more than a week, and as strength in chip prices bolstered investor hopes for earnings.

"Global stock markets marked strong gains while Seoul markets were off for a long holiday break, and the price of semiconductors continued to rally," said Lee Seung Woo, a stock analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities.

Shares in Samsung jumped 4.3 per cent, with expectations high that the world's top memory chipmaker will flag record profit when it announces its earnings estimates for July-September quarter on Friday.

The tech giant is expected to report 14.3 trillion won (S$17.1 billion) in third-quarter operating profit, up from a record 14.1 trillion won it posted in the previous quarter, according to the average of 19 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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"Their fourth-quarter earnings are highly likely to be even better, meaning that the shares will continue their upward trend," Lee said.

Shares in smaller rival SK Hynix Inc jumped as much as much as 8.6 per cent to their highest in more than 16 years at 90,000 won, while battery maker Samsung SDI gained 8.1 per cent.

Gains in tech shares helped the Seoul's main stock index rise 1.9 per cent.

REUTERS