South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index has enjoyed the most impressive gain among the world’s major stock exchanges after more than doubling from the Covid-19 nadir in mid-March last year when global financial markets took a massive hit from the pandemic panic.
The Kospi closed at 3,054.39 last Friday, up 109.54 percent from a year earlier when the Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The junior Kosdaq index made even sharper recovery over a year, making 116.06 percent gain. On Tuesday, Kospi finished 0.7 percent higher at 3,067.17 and Kosdaq up 1.48 percent at 940.65.
Both Korean stock markets have far outpaced its global peers. In the U.S., S&P 500 rose 76.25 percent and Nasdaq 94.15 percent over the same period. Nikkei 225 in Japan gained 79.53 percent, and DAX 30 in Germany 71.79 percent. China, which escaped from the pandemic faster than other countries, has seen Shanghai Composite Index rise by 29.81 percent. The growth was also slow in the U.K with FTSE 100 Index gaining 35.39 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has increased 35.95 percent.
Korea Exchange’s data show that retail investors net purchased 62.2 trillion won ($54.9 billion) in the Kospi over the last one-year period, while institutions net sold 42.9 trillion won and foreigners 19.05 trillion won over the same period.
But market analysts warn of corrections in Korean stocks after the fast recovery amid increasing volatility from the rising U.S. bond yields.
“It is important to witness whether corporate earnings improve in line with the economic recovery,” said Yang Hye-jung, an analyst at DS Investment & Securities. “If the corporate performance is on a recovery track, the market should certainly endure volatility,” Yang added.
Korea is considered to be one of few countries that have weathered the negative economic impact from the Covid-19 crisis relatively well compared to other major economies in the world. Corporate investments continued across sectors ranging from electric vehicle battery and biotech to mobile game and internet.
Of the big winners in the Korean market, shares of Shinpoong Pharmaceutical surged 1,284 percent over a year after the company came under spotlight for the possibility of its antimalarial drug used to treat Covid-19 patients.
Doosan Fuel Cell also skyrocketed 1,094 percent, container carrier HMM 829 percent, Sambu Construction 772 percent, entertainment contents provider YG Plus 728 percent and SC Engineering 711 percent.
By Kang Bong-jin, Kim Gyu-sik and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]