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Foreign investors

Foreigners return to Korean market; Kosdaq at near 21-year high

By Apr 12, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

The Kosdaq index hit its highest level in nearly 21 years on Monday.
The Kosdaq index hit its highest level in nearly 21 years on Monday.

Foreign investors, the dominant players on the Korean bourse, are returning as buyers of Samsung Electronics Co. and other blue chips, keeping the main Kospi index comfortably above 3,000 points and pushing the junior Kosdaq market to its highest level in nearly 21 years.

Offshore investors largely remained net sellers of Korean stocks for the first three months of this year, dumping market bellwethers such as Samsung and SK Hynix Inc. amid uncertainty over rising US Treasury yields and the appreciating dollar versus emerging market currencies.

However, they are resuming purchases of Korean shares, with chipmakers again among their top picks, taking a cue from the stabilizing US Treasury yields, a weakening greenback and a string of decent earnings reports by Korean companies.

According to the Korea Exchange, foreigners have purchased a total of 2.56 trillion won ($2.27 billion) on the main bourse in nine days over 11 sessions since Mar. 26.

Their Korean buying focused on Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, considered to be among the top beneficiaries of a semiconductor industry boom cycle from as early as the second quarter.

During the period, foreigners on a buying spree bought most in Samsung Electronics, at 1.03 trillion won, followed by SK Hynix at 545.4 billion won.

According to market research firm TrendForce, the price of DRAM chips for servers is forecast to rise 20% sequentially in the second quarter amid expectations of short supply until the third quarter at least. 

Last week, Samsung, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, delivered forecast-beating quarterly results, posting an operating profit of 9.3 trillion won for the first quarter.


Other favorite Korean stocks actively purchased by foreign investors during the cited period include Kakao Corp. (353.5 billion won), Celltrion Inc. (234.2 billion won) and SK Telecom (233.3 billion won).

Foreigners’ rekindled interest in Korean stocks comes as the dollar languished near two-and-a-half week lows against major peers on Monday as a decline in Treasury yields held back the US currency.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rivals, was little changed at 92.304 in Asia, following a 0.9% slump last week. The benchmark 10-year US Treasury yield was at 1.6622% after dropping to as low as 1.6170% last week. It had surged to a more than one-year high of 1.7760% on March 30.

“The dollar’s strength will largely remain intact in the coming months, working as pressure for emerging equities markets. But it’s not a critical factor working against foreign fund inflows,” said IBK Investment & Securities analyst Ahn So-eun.

Foreigners return to Korean market; Kosdaq at near 21-year high


Helped by steady foreign buying, the country’s tech-heavy Kosdaq market finished at its highest level in nearly 21 years on Monday.

The secondary market index rose 1.14% to close at 1,000.65, marking the first time it has passed the 1,000-point milestone since Sept. 14, 2000.

Total market capitalization reached a record 411.1 trillion won on Monday. Foreigners bought a net 39.2 billion won on the junior market.

The main Kospi index closed up 0.12% at 3,135.59 on Monday.

Write to Ji-Yeon Sul and Yun-Sang Ko at

In-Soo Nam edited this article.
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