South Korea's main stock price index is expected to flirt with the 2,300-point level in the second half of this year on high expectations for improved corporate earnings, brokerages said Monday.
Citing a recovery in the global economy, NH Investment & Securities Co. said in a research note that it has raised its 2017 target for the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index to 2,350 from an earlier 2,250.
"After walking sideways for years, Kospi is on pace to breach the previous record," said Oh Tae-dong. "Large-cap issues are likely to lead Kospi's upturn down the road."
The optimum valuation of the main stock market could be upgraded further, as the world economy is projected to pick up and continue its expansion in the coming months, despite a possible correction in the short term, he added.
Daishin Securities Co. echoed the view, saying increasing corporate income will likely power Kospi's rise in the second half.
"Rising hopes for increased corporate earnings have been driving up Kospi amid favorable external economic conditions," said Lee Kyung-min, a Daishin Securities analyst said. There is a high possibility of Kospi breaching through the 2,300-point level in the second half."
According to Daishin Securities, the combined operating income of companies listed on the main stock market is estimated to reach 150 trillion won this year with their bottom line topping 100 trillion won.
The on-year growth rate of the operating profit is predicted to reach 25.1 percent this year, the highest level since the 57.1 percent recorded in 2010.
Other experts forecast Kospi to continue its high growth next month, bolstered by the easing of global risks such as US rate hikes and growing expectations for a recovery in domestic demand.
HMC Investment & Securities Co. painted a rosy picture of Kospi's performance, predicting the key index to attempt to breach the 2,200-point mark in March.
"Kospi's upward momentum could lose steam following a short-term surge, but it is expected to keep rising on expectations that domestic demand will pick up after bottoming out amid fast improvements in exports," said Byun Joon-ho, an analyst at HMC Investment & Securities.
In addition, the South Korean currency is projected to remain strong against the US dollar, a positive factor for foreign stock buying that usually serves as the main driver of a Kospi upturn.
Some wary analysts, however, said Kospi's long-term uptrend could be limited, citing South Korea's weak economic growth for the next few years and the possibility of a weak local currency against the greenback. (Yonhap)