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POSCO First-Quarter Profit Rises 55% on Higher Steel Prices

South Korea's POSCO reported a 55% jump in second-quarter net profit on Monday on high prices and strong demand for steel.

The world's fourth-largest steel maker earned a net profit of 1.11 trillion won ($1.21 billion) for the three months to June 30, against a 716 billion won profit in the same period a year ago.

The result was above a consensus forecast of 941 billion won by seven analysts surveyed by Reuters.

Analysts said the outlook for the company was for more of the same in the second half due to expectations of continued solid demand for steel, although earnings momentum could slow a bit after a string of steep run-ups since late 2006.

Reflecting its strong earnings, shares in POSCO, South Korea's second-largest company with a market value of $53 billion, hit a record-high of 579,000 won on Monday after gaining 12.3 percent in the second quarter, compared with a 20% rise in the KOSPI.

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