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Institutions tend to sell stocks ahead of Chuseok

Institutional investors have tended to become net sellers of South Korean stocks ahead of the annual Chuseok holiday over the past five years with foreigners turning net buyers, data showed Thursday.

According to the data from the Korea Exchange, institutions were net sellers of local stocks before the Chuseok holiday from 2012-16 except for 2015.

Their net selling amounted to 829 billion won ($724 million) last year, while institutional investors' net buying stood at 369 billion won two year ago.

Offshore investors, however, showed a completely different pattern from domestic institutions. Foreigners turned net buyers between 2012-16 except for 2015.

Foreigners' net purchases came to 243 billion won with their net selling reaching slightly over 1 trillion won in 2015.

Analysts attributed their opposite investment patterns to the fact that foreigners can deal more flexibly with changes in the local stock market than institutions.

"It is difficult to generalize investors' stock disposal patterns, but foreign investors appear not to engage in strong selling ahead of the Chuseok holiday as they have more options than local investors while the domestic stock market is closed," said Lee Kyung-min, an analyst at Daeshin Securities Co.

However, foreign investors are highly likely to take profits from recent gains this year as the holiday is unusually long and they may feel burdened by a strong dollar and a short-term jump in tech stocks, Lee added.

The 10-day Chuseok holiday begins later this week, with Chuseok falling on Wednesday. The Korean autumn harvest celebration is similar to Thanksgiving in the United States, with people spending time together with family and friends. (Yonhap)
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