South Korea’s Kospi index rose 7.51, or 0.4 percent, to 2,051 at the close in Seoul, the highest since Nov. 6, 2007. Today is the last trading day of the year for the nation’s markets, which are shut tomorrow.
The Kospi gained 22 percent in 2010, extending last year’s 50 percent gain. Iljin Diamond Co., which processes industrial diamonds used in cutting tools, was the best performer this year, surging 402 percent. EK Energy was the worst performer, falling 80 percent.
Share trading will start at 10 a.m. on Jan. 3, an hour later than usual, and close as usual at 3 p.m., according to Korea Exchange Inc., the nation’s bourse operator.
The following were among the most-active stocks in South Korean markets.
Hana Financial Group Inc. (086790 KS) climbed 1.9 percent to 43,300 won. Hana Bank, the lending unit of Hana Financial Group, forecast 2011 profit of about 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion). The South Korean bank’s profit for the current year will likely exceed 1 trillion won, according to a filing.
NHN Corp. (035420 KS), the operator of South Korea’s biggest search engine, climbed 4.1 percent to 227,000 won, the highest since May 2, 2008. The shares gained on speculation the market for online advertising will grow faster than previously anticipated next year and ahead of the company’s planned launch of its game “Tera,” said Min Kim, an analyst at Hyundai Securities Co.
Non-life insurers: Dongbu Insurance Co. (005830 KS) added 6.8 percent to 45,000 won. LIG Insurance Co. (002550 KS) gained 3.4 percent to 23,050 won. Hyundai Marine & Fire Insurance Co. (001450 KS) advanced 7.2 percent to 26,150 won. Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Co. (000810 KS) added 4.4 percent to 225,000 won. The 13-member Korea Insurance Index added 2.3 percent after the government announced measures to help stem losses at their auto insurance businesses.
The measures unveiled by the Financial Services Commission yesterday include holding policyholders responsible for about 20 percent of the cost of damages from a car accident, subject to certain ceilings in cases of large losses. The government will also limit companies’ spending for sales activities.