SEOUL, May 26 (Korea Bizwire) — More than 7 out of 10 listed companies in South Korea have suffered stock price setbacks over a one-year period as investors remain disheartened by rate hikes in major economies, data showed Thursday.
According to the data from the Korea Exchange, 72.4 percent of the 2,498 firms traded on the country’s main and minor bourses, or 1,809, saw share prices decline from the end of May last year.
Nearly 77 percent of the 940 companies listed on the main KOSPI market suffered setbacks, with share prices of about 70 percent of the 1,558 firms traded on the tech-heavy KOSDAQ market declining over the cited period.
Market watchers said the local stock market has been bearish as investor sentiment has taken a hit from major economies’ aggressive monetary tightening to rein in soaring inflation.
KOSDAQ-registered pharmaceutical maker G9 Pharma chalked up the biggest price decrease of 95.7 percent. Other big losers included cosmetics giant Amorepacific (45.99 percent) and pharmaceutical titan Celltrion (45.98 percent).
Among the KOSPI 200 companies, Shinpoong Pharmaceutical suffered the largest drop of 57.63 percent, followed by LG Household & Health Care with 53.92 percent.
Share prices of builder HDC Hyundai Development tumbled 53.84 percent over the cited period due to an accident at an apartment construction site in Gwangju City, 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul, four months earlier.
Outer wall structures of one of the eight apartment buildings collapsed, killing six workers.
Noticeably, most so-called growth stocks suffered setbacks.
Major online and mobile game developer NCSOFT posted a 48.1 percent price decline over the cited period, with shares in online payment firm Kakao Pay nearly halving.
Kakao, the operator of South Korea’s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, saw its share price plunge 33.93 percent, and internet titan Naver registered a 25.69 percent decrease.
Despite the bearish market mood, some analysts said there is a possibility some beaten-down large caps may pull off a temporary rebound in the coming month as the local bourse has long been in the doldrums.
However, a thin market is on the cards down the road as the U.S. Federal Reserve and central banks in other major economies are widely expected to aggressively raise benchmark interest rates in an effort to prevent inflation from spiraling out of control, they added.