Institutional buyers drive Korean stocks higher

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

South Korean stocks advanced today on rising hope for more stimulus measures from China and a robust retail sales report from the United States, analysts said.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 19.08 points, or 0.89 percent, to finish at 2,157.18, marking the biggest daily gain since Feb. 20.

Trading volume was moderate at 345.7 million shares worth 4.11 trillion won (US$3.65 billion), with gainers far outnumbering losers 590 to 241.

Institutions scooped up a net 75.86 billion won worth of local stocks to support the index. Foreigners bought a net 930 million won, while retail investors sold a net 22.17 billion won.

Tech blue chips were in positive territory. Market bellwether Samsung Electronics gained by 2.29 percent to 44,650 won, and major chipmaker SK hynix added 1.65 percent to 67,700 won.

Shares of Hyundai Motor added 3.72 percent to 125,500 won after Institutional Shareholder Services, a prominent shareholder advisory firm, opposed to New York-based hedge fund Elliott's call for Hyundai Motor to increase dividends to its shareholders.

South Korea's leading automaker has argued that it needs cash reserves to survive in the intense competition in the global auto industry.

In contrast, top portal operator Naver declined by 2.25 percent to 130,500 won, and tobacco maker KT&G sank 3.65 percent to 105,500 won.