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SK Surges Most in 5 Months on Profit Prospects: Seoul Mover

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile-phone operator, rallied the most in more than five months in Seoul trading on speculation the company’s fourth-quarter profit will exceed consensus estimates.

SK Telecom climbed 4.2 percent to 160,500 won at the close on the Korea Exchange, its steepest gain since July 24. The benchmark Kospi index added 0.5 percent.

Operating profit may gain 50 percent to 488.9 billion won ($463 million) in the fourth quarter, topping average analyst estimates of 418.7 billion won, Eugene Investment & Securities Co. said in a report today. Profit will rise this year as the company lures more subscribers to faster services, boosting the average revenue per users and as marketing costs decline, Hanwha Investment & Securities Co. wrote in a separate report.

“We will see an earnings surprise for the fourth quarter, and this will continue in the current quarter as well,” Denny Kim, a Eugene analyst, wrote in the report. The analyst raised the share-price estimate by 13 percent to 200,000 won.

Irene Kim, a SK Telecom spokeswoman, declined to comment. Other telecom operators also advanced, with KT Corp. rising 3.3 percent and LG Uplus Corp. adding 4.9 percent.

Samsung Asset Management Co., South Korea’s biggest asset manager, bought shares of LG Chem Ltd., Posco along with telecom and utility companies on the prospect of improving earnings this year, its head of equities Nam Dong Joon said in an interview last week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Saeromi Shin in Seoul at sshin15@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Darren Boey at dboey@bloomberg.net

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