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Blockbuster IPOs push Kospi’s market cap to record high

Number of stock-trading accounts tops 50m on investors’ strong appetite for investments

Dealers look at monitors at Hana Bank headquarters in central Seoul on Friday morning, as both South Korea‘s benchmark Kospi and tech-heavy Kosdaq started off slightly strong. (Yonhap)
Dealers look at monitors at Hana Bank headquarters in central Seoul on Friday morning, as both South Korea‘s benchmark Kospi and tech-heavy Kosdaq started off slightly strong. (Yonhap)
The market capitalization of South Korea’s benchmark stock index reached an all-time high with a series of blockbuster initial public offerings, according to data released by the country’s bourse operator Sunday.

The accumulated market valuation of listed firms on the main Kospi market came to 2,334.6 trillion won ($2.04 trillion) as of market closing of Friday. It was up by 20.2 trillion won from the previous record high of 2,314.4 trillion won set at the closing bell on July 6, Korea Exchange data showed.

Though the market has grown in size, the index closed at 3,270.36 on Friday, down 34.85 points or 1.06 percent from a month ago, when it ended trading at 3,305.21 points. Compared with the final trading session of 2020, the market cap jumped 17.8 percent from 1,980.5 trillion won, marking a bigger increase than the index rise of 13.8 percent.

Market watchers mainly attributed the rapidly growing market to this year’s listings of giant IPO deals such as KakaoBank, SK Bioscience and SK ie technology. The three companies’ market value in total came to nearly 67.2 trillion won.

As the Kosdaq refreshed its yearly-high closing for a second straight session Friday, touching 1,059.80 points, the tech-heavy index’s market valuation also hit a new high of 442.9 trillion won. The combined market cap of Asia’s fourth-largest economy’s stock markets stood at 2,777.6 trillion won.

The size of the domestic stock market is expected to grow even more amid game developer Krafton’s Kospi-listing Tuesday. The gaming giant’s market valuation after going public is forecast to mark around 24.4 trillion won, while its floating shares were priced at 498,000 won apiece.

Also on deck for mega IPOs are Lotte Group’s rental unit Lotte Rental, internet giant Kakao’s payment services arm Kakao Pay, LG Chem’s secondary battery split-off LG Energy Solution and shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Fueled by a market bull run from the pandemic-hit market last year and IPO frenzy, retail investors’ strong appetite for stock investment has resulted the number of active security accounts in the country to surpass the 50 million mark for the first time as well, another industry data showed.

Active stock accounts in Korea numbered 52.6 million as of Thursday, up 10 million in 5 months, after the figure crossed the 40 million for the first time on March 19, according to data from the Korea Financial Investment Association.

Active security accounts are those with depository assets of 100,000 won or more and which recorded a transaction at least once in the last six months.

The number of accounts increased dramatically lately -- marking 30 million in March last year, while it exceeded 10 million and 20 million in July 2007 and May 2012, respectively.

Market watchers have suggested that the growth is due to an increasing number of new individual investors amid the benchmark topping above the 3,300-point threshold and the secondary Kosdaq trading above the 1,000-point level in more than 20 years after the dot-com bubble.

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