|An employee at the headquarters of Hana Bank in central Seoul passes by monitors set at the bank's dealing room, Tuesday. KOSPI hits all-time high of 2,617.76 at Tuesday's closing. / Yonhap|
By Anna J. Park
The benchmark KOSPI continued its rally Tuesday, rewriting its all-time record high of the past 45 years, both in intra-day trading and at the close.
The index began trading at 2,616.28 points, up 13.69 points from Monday's close of 2,602.59, which was the new all-time high. It briefly touched 2,628.52 at around 12:40 p.m., replacing the index's previous all-time high for intra-day trading of 2,607.10 set in January 2018.
The KOSPI then finished the day at 2,617.76, up 0.58 percent from the previous day, again setting a new record-high.
Attracted by a weak dollar with expectations of a profit recovery at top-tier Korean companies, foreign investors continued purchasing top listed stocks, according to market analysts. They net purchased shares worth 725.8 billion won ― having turned to net-buying throughout November with six trillion won worth of shares to date ― while retail investors and institutional investors net sold 22.8 billion won and 694.1 billion won, respectively.
This was the 14th straight day of the foreign investors' net-buying spree.
Since the start of the year, the KOSPI had risen 16.2 percent up to last Friday, the second highest among G20 stock markets following Argentina's 23.6 percent. This bullish trend was quite unexpected when the index fell to 1457.64 points in mid-March amid the worldwide spread of COVID-19, when foreign investors net-sold Korean shares.
Market watchers say eased uncertainties, which in part, stem from the U.S. presidential election, the increase of exports to over 11 percent this month alone and the weak dollar are attributable to the KOSPI's bullish run.
Representative blue-chips, including LG Chem and Samsung SDI led Tuesday's performance with a daily increase of 6.82 percent and 4.94 percent, respectively. Powered by reports that it had signed a deal with Tesla to supply batteries for upcoming models to be sold in the Chinese market, LG Chem's shares rose 6.82 percent; while rival Samsung SDI's stock was also affected by news of the agreement, according to data from the bourse operator, the Korea Exchange.
Other large market-caps including Samsung Electronics, Naver, Celltrion and Hyundai Motor, also logged upward moves of 0.3 percent, 0.36 percent, 0.17 percent and 1.12 percent, respectively.
Research centers at local brokerage firms expect the market to continue its rally into next year, based on the rosy outlook that the local economy ― particularly the IT, materials and components, and finance sectors ― will recover, yielding sound profits. Their highest projection of the index ranges up to 3,000.
"The Korean stock markets have continued their rally based on strong foreign net-buying, especially led by hikes in the semi-conductor and secondary battery sectors," Seo Sang-young, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities, explained. "What is also noteworthy is that stocks that saw huge increases on the U.S. stock markets Monday, such as electric vehicles, energy and transportation, also rose substantially on the KOSPI market Tuesday," he added.
The KRX noted that various factors were behind the record-setting moves.
"Eased uncertainties surrounding the U.S. presidential election, the positive outlook for a global economic recovery, the U.S. Federal Reserve maintaining its monetary easing policy, as well as COVID-19 vaccine developments, contributed to investors' preference for global risk assets," the KRX said.