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Listed firms' earnings outlooks swing to upturn

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Earnings forecasts for South Korea's listed firms rebounded from a long downturn last week amid rising hopes for their possible exit from the coronavirus shock, a market tracker said Monday.

Companies listed on the country's main stock market saw the average estimate of their earnings per share (EPS) for the next 12 months amount to 6,038 won ($4.99) on Thursday, up 2.5 percent from the prior week, according to FnGuide.

The increase in EPS, or a company's profit divided by its outstanding common shares, means brokerage houses have revised up their earnings forecasts.

The 12-month EPS estimate has been on the skids since reaching 6,905 won on March 12, as the market has downgraded their outlooks due to rising concerns over the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus outbreak has led to widespread lockdowns, shuttered plants and dented consumer spending, touching off worries of a global economic recession.

Analysts said the upturn in the EPS estimate points to growing expectations for a recovery in their profits down the road as economies reopen amid falling coronavirus cases and deaths.

"Given the resumption of economic activity, the EPS estimate is expected to trend higher in coming months though it remains to be seen whether last week's reading is a temporary rally," Ha In-hwan, an analyst at Meritz Securities Co., said. 

Some watchers warned the rise in the EPS estimate could be limited unless corporate earnings take a turn for the better due to a delay in the recovery of the real economy.

Asia's fourth-largest economy has been battered by the coronavirus outbreak after reporting its first confirmed case on Jan. 20.

Its gross domestic product shrank 1.3 percent on-quarter in the January-March period on weak exports and consumer spending. It was the biggest on-quarter drop since a 3.3 percent fall in the last three months of 2008. 

The viral disease has so far infected nearly 11,800 people and claimed 273 lives here. (Yonhap)
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