South Korea's retail investors are generally staying away from the local bourses, industry data showed Thursday, as foreigners and institutions pushed up stocks to record highs in recent months backed by improving corporate earnings and resilient exports.
The KOSPI main bourse has risen 18 percent in the first six months this year, while the tech-heavy KOSDAQ market posted a 6 percent jump during the same period.
The daily trading volume of individual investors contracted 8.5 percent to 5.06 trillion won ($4.39 billion) during the January-June period from 5.5 trillion won a year earlier, according to the figures by the Korea Exchange.
The total breaks down to 2.36 trillion won for the KOSPI, a 3.8 percent drop, and 2.69 trillion won for KOSDAQ, down 12.2 percent.
The proportion of the turnover of individuals to the total trading volume, stood at 62.2 percent during the six months ending June, down from 67.2 percent a year earlier.
The daily trading volume of foreign investors, meanwhile, jumped 22.5 percent to 1.82 trillion won, while that of institutional investors soared 14.1 percent to 1.14 trillion won.
The share of individual investors peaked at 77.8 percent in 2002 and dropped gradually to 57.4 percent in 2008, when the global financial crisis hit the country.
The figure then surged again to 67.7 percent in 2009 before hovering at 67.6 percent in 2015 and 66.9 percent in 2016.
Kim Yong-koo of Hana Financial Investment said individual investors' lack of interest comes from the fact that the bullish market was led by Samsung Electronics and other large cap stocks, not by the cheaper KOSDAQ shares favored by individuals. (Yonhap)