South Korea added just one stock to its 1-trillion-won ($849 million) market cap club last year as local markets suffered from global trade uncertainties and weak corporate earnings.
Stocks with a market capitalization of more than 1 trillion won were tallied at 194 as of late December 2019, adding just one from the same period a year ago, Korea Exchange said Wednesday.
The benchmark Kospi welcomed three new big caps for a total of 168, while the junior Kosdaq lost two to rest at 26. But when excluding the five mega initial public offerings last year, the number of big caps with more than 1 trillion won actually fell by four, according to the exchange.
The five new listings that joined the 1-trillion-won club are online furniture sales platform Zinus, defense solution provider Hanwha Systems, battery material maker EcoPro BM, Lotte Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and Hyundai Motor Group’s IT service unit Hyundai Autoever.
As of late December, Zinus’ market cap was 1.32 trillion won, Hanwha Systems 1.14 trillion won, EcoPro BM 1.09 trillion won, and Lotte REIT and Hyundai Autoever 1.06 trillion won, each.
Other market heavyweights on the Kospi include Samsung Electronics (333.1 trillion won), SK Hynix (68.5 trillion won), Naver (30.7 trillion won), Samsung BioLogics (28.6 trillion won) and Hyundai Motor (25.7 trillion won).
Some of the major Kosdaq names in the 1-trillion-won club include bio companies Celltrion Healthcare (7.6 trillion won) and HLB (4.9 trillion won), entertainment and media firm CJ ENM (3.5 trillion won), game developer Pearl Abyss (2.4 trillion won), and TV drama producer Studio Dragon (2.3 trillion won).
Korean markets performed the worst last year among major stock markets as the protracted U.S.-China trade war and Korea’s own trade battle with Japan took a heavy toll on the export-reliant economy. As the country’s exports continued to fall, most Korean firms reported poor earnings.
The Kospi closed last year at 2,197.67, up a mere 7.67 percent from the same period a year ago. The Kosdaq slipped 0.9 percent to close the year at 669.83.
By comparison, the U.S. S&P 500 finished up 29.2 percent, Brazil 32.6 percent and Russia 45.3 percent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 also closed the year at a 29-year high, up 18.2 percent. Korea fared even worse than Hong Kong, whose Hang Seng index gained 9.7 percent even as violent anti-government protests paralyzed the city throughout the latter half of last year.
The benchmark Kospi, which had stayed subdued throughout 2019, saw an uptick in December that helped maintain its 1-trillion-won club. Stocks rallied as the U.S. reached a phase one trade deal with China, led by chip makers on expectations for a rebound in chip demand.
The secondary tech-heavy Kosdaq, however, shriveled as investor sentiment remained tepid amid multiple blows to the bio sector, notably Kolon Tissuegene’s gene osteoarthritis drug Invossa, whose permit was revoked due to allegations of mislabeling and false reporting of ingredients.
Kosdaq No. 1 Celltrion Healthcare saw its market cap shrink from 10.6 trillion won in late 2018 to 7.6 trillion won late last year.
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]