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Kospi rises 10th-sharpest among G-20 bourses in November

Buoyed by foreign investors’ buying, Kospi again hits all-time closing high of 2,675.90

An electric board at the Korea Exchange’s Seoul office in Yeouido shows the closing of Kospi and Kosdaq on Wednesday. Kospi logged an all-time closing high of 2,675.90, beating the previous record set a day earlier. (KRX)
An electric board at the Korea Exchange’s Seoul office in Yeouido shows the closing of Kospi and Kosdaq on Wednesday. Kospi logged an all-time closing high of 2,675.90, beating the previous record set a day earlier. (KRX)
South Korea’s main bourse, Kospi, kept pace with the rallies of major stock markets in Group of 20 economies in November amid hopes of a global economic recovery and new coronavirus vaccine developments, data showed Wednesday.

The Kospi index soared 14.3 percent through November, breaking the previous monthly increase record of 13.52 percent set in April 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. This was the 10th-largest increase out of the 20 market indexes representing G-20 nations, and was slightly higher than the average of all 20 indexes, 14.1 percent.

All G-20 nations saw their main stock indexes climb throughout November. Italy’s benchmark FTSE MIB index recorded the largest increase with 22.95 percent, followed by Argentina’s Merval index and Russia’s RTS index, which jumped 22.5 percent and 20.19 percent, respectively. France’s CAC index surged 20.12 percent, the data showed.

Kospi outpaced the three major US indexes, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 11.84 percent, the S&P 500 grew by 10.75 percent and the Nasdaq rose by 11.79 percent during the same period.

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite index marked the lowest increase among the G-20 bourses, gaining 5.19 percent last month.

Market watchers largely cited the effects of US President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, along with growing hopes of developing and commercializing vaccines for COVID-19 soon.

“Despite the continuous spread of COVID-19, November was the month when the political uncertainties over the US presidential election settled down and expectations for vaccine development grew,” the head of Samsung Securities’ investment strategy team, Yoo Seung-min, told The Korea Herald.

“While investors’ preferred investment destination has recently moved to high-risk assets, countries hit harder by COVID-19 tend to see a greater rebound in their market indexes in November.”

Riding on a bullish trend in November, Kospi has maintained its record run in December so far. After the index logged an all-time closing high of 2,634.25 Tuesday, it once again set a record on Wednesday, closing at 2,675.90.

The Kospi started off at 2,645.88, up 11.63 points or 0.44 percent from the previous session’s close. On the back of foreign investors’ net purchase of stocks worth 515.3 billion won ($468 million), it continuously moved upward to reach an intraday high of 2,677.12. The figure even surpassed the previous high of 2,648.66 set on Monday.

Among the large-cap stocks, the top three firms in terms of market capitalization surpassed their 52-week highs in the late afternoon trade. But getting closer to closing, they erased some of their earlier gains.

Market kingpins Samsung Electronics and SK hynix jumped 2.51 percent and 8.46 percent to 69,500 won and 109,000 won, while shares of LG Chem advanced 3.96 percent to close at 841,000 won.

The tech-heavy Kosdaq also began higher at 894.94, up 3.65 points or 0.41 percent from the previous session’s close. Fueled by both small domestic investors and foreigners, scooping up a net 160.4 billion won and 26.3 billion won, the index hit 899.34 at the closing bell.

Along with the local stock market’s rally, the Korean won rose against the US greenback on Wednesday. The local currency traded at 1,100.8 won per dollar, up 5.4 won or 0.49 percent from the previous session’s close.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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