Foreign Investors Bolster South Korean Stocks, Sparking Market Rally

SEOUL - The South Korean stock market has experienced a significant uptick over the past two weeks, largely attributed to the influx of foreign investments into local shares, latest data reveals.

According to Yonhap News Agency, foreign investors have actively participated in the market, purchasing a net total of 5 trillion won (approximately US$3.75 billion) in local shares from January 29 to February 8. This surge in foreign investment coincides with a 5.71 percent increase in the KOSPI index, which closed at 2,620.32 points. The rally follows announcements from financial authorities about initiatives to enhance the value of undervalued stocks.

Hyundai Motor Co. emerged as the preferred choice among foreign investors, with purchases totaling 1.2 trillion won. Other significant investments included 530 billion won in Kia Corp., 311.2 billion won in Samsung C and T Corp., and 258.2 billion won in KB Financial Group. Notably, all top 20 stocks favored by foreign investors saw price increases in the last week.

Among the standout performers were Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance Co., which soared by 38.17 percent last week, Hanmi Semiconductor Co. by 33.73 percent, and Hyundai Motor by 33.48 percent. Other notable increases were observed in SK Square Co., Hana Financial Group, KB Financial Group, and E-Mart Inc., each rising by more than 20 percent.

Conversely, individual investors took a different approach during the same period, becoming net sellers by offloading 6.17 trillion won worth of stocks. Significant sales included 1.72 trillion won of Hyundai Motor stocks, 531.2 billion won of Kia, and 444.3 billion won of Samsung C and T.

Despite the overall market rally, the top five stock picks of individual investors, which include Naver Corp. and Hybe Co., reported losses last week, highlighting the divergent investment strategies between foreign and local investors in the South Korean stock market.

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