Samsung Shares Soar to New High

Samsung Electronics shares scaled new heights on Thursday as shares of rival Apple took a beating while analysts wondered whether the iPhone maker's innovative momentum may be sputtering.

Samsung Electronics shares ended at W1.417 million (US$1=W1,086), up 2.4 percent and an all-time high topping the previous record of W1.410 million on May 2. The price rose to W1.419 million at one point during the session.

Samsung shares fell in August, when a U.S. district court sided with Apple in a patent-infringement lawsuit. But skyrocketing sales of Samsung smartphones around the world have sent them upward again since September.

"This year Samsung released a wide range of new products, including the Galaxy S3 smartphone and Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 2 tablet PCs," said Song Jong-ho, an analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities. Thanks to their brisk sales, Samsung's share of the global smartphone market is expected to rise to 32 percent to surpass Apple's 21 percent, he added.

"Based on its strong market position, Samsung's earnings are expected to increase so investors are buying."

In contrast, Apple shares peaked at US$702.10 on Sept. 19 after the district court jury ruled in its favour and have been on a downswing ever since. On Wednesday, Apple shares closed at $561.70, down 20 percent compared to the Sept. 19 peak.

Many reasons have been cited as causing Apple's slump, including difficulties meeting iPhone demand, defeats in patent-infringement lawsuits in other countries and a declining share of the global tablet PC market. But the reason widely touted now is that Apple has lost its innovative edge. Critics say the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini have fallen short of consumer expectations.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 23, 2012 11:32 KST