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Samsung's Q4 earnings may not meet consensus: analysts

2013/12/26 15:30

SEOUL, Dec. 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. is expected to post a weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013, analysts said Thursday, due to the volatile foreign exchange market.

Analysts here earlier predicted the world's No. 1 smartphone maker would reap an operating profit of 10.2 trillion won (US$9.62 billion) on average for the October-December period, according to the market researcher FnGuide.

A handful of local brokerage houses, however, said Samsung's fourth-quarter earnings may not meet the consensus as the prolonged gain of the Korean won against the U.S. dollar dealt a harsh blow to its price competitiveness.

The local currency ended at 1,059.30 won against the U.S. dollar Thursday, down 6.4 percent from 1,132.00 won tallied on July 1, market data showed.

A relatively stronger won inflicts foreign exchange losses on local exporters, making South Korean goods more expensive overseas.

Korea Investment & Securities Co. recently slashed Samsung's fourth-quarter earnings outlook to 9.8 trillion won from the previous 10.5 trillion won, and Mirae Asset Securities Co. suggested 9.9 trillion won.

KB Investment & Securities Co. said the top player's operating profit for the fourth quarter is anticipated to reach 9.7 trillion won, adding that increased spending in research and development emerged as a burden.

Analysts said Samsung's operating profit will continue to hover below the psychologically significant level of 10 trillion won in the first quarter of 2014 amid a lack of growth momentum.

Samsung's operating profit climbed 26 percent on-year to a record 10.16 trillion won in the third quarter on the back of strong sales of its flagship mobile devices, seasonal demand for electronics products and higher chip prices.

Analysts said the company's share prices, however, are expected to remain unchanged by the weak outlook, as such concerns have already been priced in.

Shares of Samsung Electronics closed at 1,408,000 won on the main bourse Thursday, down 0.49 percent from the previous trading session.

colin@yna.co.kr

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