Foreigners net purchased record $11.7 billion shares in S. Korea in Q1

Foreigners net purchased over 15 trillion won ($11.7 billion) worth of local shares in the first three months of the year in South Korea

Seoul, March 30 (IANS) Foreigners net purchased over 15 trillion won ($11.7 billion) worth of local shares in the first three months of the year in South Korea, breaching the 15 trillion-won mark for the first time in history, data showed on Saturday.

Foreign investors scooped up a net 15.77 trillion won worth of shares in the first quarter, the highest quarterly figure since the country’s main stock exchange KRX began compiling such data in 1998.

The previous record was 14.79 trillion won tallied in the third quarter of 2009, according to the KRX, reports Yonhap news agency.

Foreigners mostly purchased shares in semiconductor and auto industries, along with low price-to-book (PBR) stocks that are expected to benefit from the government-led corporate value-up program.

They scooped up 5.5 trillion won worth of shares of Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest supplier of memory chips, followed by 2.14 trillion won worth of leading carmaker Hyundai Motor and 1.75 trillion won worth of shares in No. 2 chipmaker SK hynix.

The stock price of the 10 most purchased shares increased by an average 22.6 percent during the cited period, compared with a 3.4 percent gain for all listed firms on the main KOSPI market.

Experts, however, expect foreign buying to slow down in the second quarter.

“The rise in foreign buying is likely to slow down in the second quarter. They may seek to cash in gains before the end of the second quarter, collecting part of the fund they invested in the market due to the temporary ban on stock short selling, which is set to end at the end of the second quarter,” said Byun Joon-ho, an analyst at IBK Securities.

“They may also start selling (local shares) since the U.S. Federal Reserve may start cutting rates in the second quarter,” he added.

–IANS

na/

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