South Korea's 254 firms listed on the Korea Stock Exchange are expected to post 7.08 trillion won (US $6 billion) in net profits for the first half of this year, a 1,133% increase over the same period last year, according to a study of available data released by Daewoo Securities. However, the firms' combined sales are expected to fall by 2.19% this year to 208 trillion won ($180 billion), Daewoo said. "Many corporations have streamlined their operations and cut down on manpower, while everyone benefited from lower interest rates in the first half of this year," said an analyst at Daewoo Securities. "That's how firms will be able to post such a large increase in net profits." The operational profits of the 254 firms are expected to reach 8.73 trillion won for the first half of this year, up 526.83% from the same period last year, according to the survey. The 62 largest manufacturers in the study are expected to post 3.67 trillion won in combined net profits for the first half of 1999, up 119% this year. However, their combined first half sales are expected to fall 3.42% to 157 trillion won.