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Stock rebounds signal recovery from omicron scare: analysts

An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
An electronic board showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) at a dealing room of the Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
South Korean stocks rebounded Wednesday on foreign buying amid growing hopes that the omicron variant would not derail a global economic recovery.

Analysts in Seoul also said that stocks will shake off their pandemic-caused weakness early next year when supply disruptions are resolved.

The main benchmark Kospi closed at 3001.80 points, up by 0.34 percent from a day earlier, surpassing the 3,000-mark again for the first time since Nov. 24. The junior tech-heavy Kosdaq closed at 1006.04 points, up by 0.94 percent from the previous day, going above 1,000 for the first time since Nov. 30.

The rebound was backed by institutions that snatched up a net 820 billion won ($696 million). Foreigners sold 85 billion won and retail investors offloaded 689 billion won.

“The Kospi could climb as high as 3,100 by the year-end, but reaching beyond that depends on whether global supply bottlenecks get resolved, which I think could come early next year, at the earliest,” said Kim Young-hwan, a market strategist at NH Investment & Securities.

Kim said uncertainty over the omicron variant that could come with tougher distancing rules would not affect the stock market as much as the supply woes. South Korea reported record COVID-19 cases on the same day despite having reversed loosening curbs.

“The European markets are not taking a hit even though the tally is much higher there. So long as we don’t see nationwide lockdowns, I think the variant weighs little on the market,” Kim said.

Kim Seung-hyun, head of research at Yuanta Securities, played down the risks the variant posed, saying the pandemic was nothing new that could lead to a dramatic market shift.

“What is important, however, is that the Kospi could go down to as low as 2,700 by the year-end. But it will definitely soar early in the first quarter next year when we see supply disruptions ease, followed by stabilizing producer and consumer prices, which I’m thinking could come in the latter half at the earliest,” Kim said.

Kim of Yuanta Securities added that South Korean shares would outperform its global peers as early as in the second quarter next year on the back of upbeat corporate earnings, which peaked in August and have since been falling.

“Samsung Electronics has touched bottom this year. It will lead the rise,” Kim said.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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