SEOUL, May 12 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s national pension fund has earned nearly 13 trillion won (US$11.5 billion) from stock investments this year thanks to the bullish stock market, data showed Friday.
According to the data by market tracker FnGuide and industry sources, the value of 278 stocks, of which the National Pension Service (NPS) owns 5 percent or more, was estimated at 106.2 trillion won as of Wednesday, up 13.5 percent from 93.6 trillion won at the end of last year.
Of the companies, 240 are traded on the main KOSPI market, while the remainder are registered with the tech-laden KOSDAQ market. Prices of 185 stocks rose over the cited period, with the average price increase reaching 8.8 percent.
The bulk of this year’s gains came from a surge in Samsung Electronics, the world’s largest smartphone maker and flagship of South Korea’s leading family-controlled conglomerate Samsung Group.
The NPS, the nation’s largest institutional investor, chalked up a valuation gain of 6.07 trillion won from its 9.72 percent stake in the tech behemoth. Samsung’s share price finished at 2.28 million won as of Wednesday, up a whopping 26.5 percent from end-2016.
The state pension fund also posted a valuation gain of 812.7 billion won from its investment in global chip giant SK hynix Inc.
Meanwhile, the pension operator posted valuation losses from its investments in 91 stocks, whose prices declined an average 6.34 percent over the cited period.
The NPS is the world’s third-largest pension operator with assets of 558.3 trillion won under its management as of end-2016. The pension fund’s investment return reached 4.75 percent last year, up from 4.57 percent a year earlier.
Buoyed by expectations for an economic recovery and improved corporate earnings, South Korea’s stock market has been on a roll this year with the benchmark KOSPI hitting a new high of 2,296.37 Thursday, up 1.16 percent from the previous session.