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KOSPI gains rank 10th among G20 nations in first half

Korea’s benchmark stock price index recorded the 10th biggest gain among the Group of 20 economies in the first half, up nine notches in six months, the Korea Exchange revealed Monday.

The Korea Composite Stock Price Index grew 8.3 percent to 1,293 trillion won ($1.15 trillion) in the January-June period this year, slightly below the G20’s average 8.7 percent.

At the end of 2014, the KOSPI had marked negative growth of 4.8 percent, ranking 19th among the G20 economies in gains.

With Korea elevated to the mid-slope, Argentina topped the pyramid with a 35.8 percent gain. China followed closely with 32.2 percent, a far cry from third, Russia, with 18.9 percent.

Overall, the January-June period marked a fast recovery for KRX, as domestic investors flocked to the local brokerage on increased market liquidity amid the global quantitative easing tide. The dwarfing interest gains rate also drove investors into riskier bets.

The KRX’s total market capitalization hit a record-high 1,356 trillion won on April 23, when the benchmark KOSPI surpassed the 2,100-point threshold for the first time in 44 months. Individual investors’ selling marked 53.2 percent, surpassing the 50 percent bar for the first time since 2012.

After the April heyday, the KOSPI dipped slightly on economic uncertainties globally and at home, closing the first half at 2,074.20.

In the first half, foreign net buys of Korean shares continued, dating back four consecutive years, yet institutional investors sold local shares to meet the rising demand for fund redemptions.

By sector, medical shares grew the fastest, at 102 percent on the Middle East respiratory syndrome outbreak. Chemical shares grew 41.2 percent and securities shares 36 percent. AmorePacific and Cheil Industries freshly joined the top 10 KOSPI heavyweights.

By Chung Joo-won (joowonc@heraldcorp.com)
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