Foreigners hold about 12 percent of South Korean stocks, valued at 34 percent of the market cap, an indication that they own high-priced portfolios, data showed Wednesday.
According to the Financial Supervisory Service, offshore investors held 9.158 billion stocks in the main and secondary markets as of the end of August, equal to 12.3 percent of the total. Their holdings break down as 7.129 billion stocks, or 17 percent, in the main market KOSPI and 2.029 billion stocks, or 6.3 percent, in the tech-concentrated secondary market KOSDAQ.
In terms of market cap, foreigners owned 568.41 trillion won ($500.8 billion), or 37 percent, in the main market and 27.11 trillion won in the secondary bourse, which is 12.1 percent.
Market analysts say the differences between the volume and value of their stocks show that the foreign investors are heavily inclined to high-end stocks. For instance, 53.1 percent of shares in Samsung Electronics, the market's crown jewel, are owned by foreigners.
The same data showed that offshore buyers prefer portfolio investments. Only 4 percent of their market cap holdings were direct investments in the main bourse. In the KOSDAQ, 12.5 percent were direct investments.
A total of 44,356 foreign investors were registered with the FSS as of end of August, including 10,937 individuals and 33,419 institutional investors. The latter includes 20,723 funds, 2,222 pension funds, 969 securities firms, 718 banks, 496 insurance companies and 8,291 categorized as others.
By nation, the United States accounted for 33.2 percent, with 14,717 investors. (Yonhap)