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As goes Samsung, so goes the Kospi, with a record level for the electronics juggernaut putting the South Korean benchmark on track to surpass its previous peak.

Up by 1 per cent just after midday local time, the Kospi was challenging its previous record high close of 2,228.96, struck on May 2, 2011.

At an intraday high during the morning session, the Kospi was up as much as 1.1 per cent at 2,229.74.

That takes gains for the Kospi in 2017 to 9.7 per cent, making it one of Asia’s best-performing major markets this year behind India, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Those gains are in no small part due to the performance of heavyweight Samsung Electronics, which carries a more than 20 per cent weighting in the index and has risen by 25 per cent this year.

Samsung shares were up 0.9 per cent at a record high Won2.252m today. Last week, the company delivered its best quarterly operating profit in more than three years thanks to strong prices for memory chips and flat panel displays, and also rejected a call from activist investors to split itself into a holding company and an operating company.

With a market capitalisation of $274.9bn, Samsung is the twelfth-biggest listed company in the world, according to Bloomberg data.

Samsung might be the Korean index’s heavyweight, but it is not having the best performance today. That honour goes to highway construction and building developer ChinHung International, which gained as much as 65.3 per cent as it traded for the first time since early February.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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