[THE INVESTOR] Korean chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK hynix saw their stock prices jump on Jan. 25 thanks to foreign investors.
The surge came as a surprise because the global chip market is expected to face a slowdown due to slacking demand in coming months.
The stock price of SK hynix, which announced its fourth-quarter earnings a day earlier, hit a high of 74,800 won (US$66.64) in intraday trade, up 6.1 percent. Shares ended at 74,8000 won.
Samsung's shares closed up 3.95 percent at 44,750 won
SK hynix shares closed 5.54 percent higher the previous day after its fourth-quarter earnings announcement.
The chipmaker posted an operating profit of 4.43 trillion won, which was 31.6 percent lower on-quarter. The fall was mainly due to the weak demand of DRAM chips for data servers and mobile devices.
The company said it would reduce investments for equipment while retaining the planned investments for research and development, and its M16 plant in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s preliminary earnings report announced earlier this month showed that its operating profit tumbled 38.5 percent from 15.1 trillion won in the third quarter of 2018 to 10.8 trillion won in the next. Falling chip prices and slowing memory chip demand were attributed to the decline.
Despite the underperforming figures, Samsung said it is not considering cutting investments and manufacturing volumes for chips.
“Advanced memory chips such as those based on the extreme ultraviolet lithography technology will be produced as planned at the firm’s Hwaseong plants,” a company official said.
Reflecting the concerns over the industry slowdown, stocks of the two semiconductor giants have been on a downward trend from December.
Samsung’s stock hit an annual low of 36,850 won on Jan. 4, while SK hynix’s stock slid to an annual low of 56,700 won on the same day.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)