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http://www.sina.com.cn 2006/06/05 15:55  新东方


  Why investors like Korean blue chips

  DESPITE the world economic downturn, South Korea's stockmarket has this year outperformed those of all other countries bar Russia. Its composite stock pri
ce index (Kospi) has risen by more than 25% since January 1st. The rally, which has been driven by foreign buying, is expected to continue next year, for two reasons: encouraging economic fundamentals, and the introduction of derivatives so beloved of the world's hedge funds.

  On January 28th next year the Korea Stock Exchange is due to introduce option contracts on the shares of seven listed companies: SK Telecom, Korea Electric Power, Korea Telecom, Samsung Electronics, Hyundai Motor, Pohang Iron & Steel and Kookmin Bank. And as early as July, the Financial Supervisory Commission is expected to allow investment banks to sell over-the-counter derivatives, such as equity or interest-rate swaps. Trading volume on the exchange will increase accordingly, says Lee Wonki at Merrill Lynch. Foreigners hold nearly 90 trillion won ($70 billion) of Korean shares, 37% of the market. Their slice of the trading of Kospi 200 index futures and options rose to 10% this year, from about 5% a year ago. But the Kospi index, covering 200 companies, is not the best way to hedge foreign portfolios, which are invested mainly in the seven blue-chip shares. Yet derivatives alone will not sustain Korean equities unless the economy turns around. There are signs that it has reached bottom, with real GDP estimated to have grown by at least 2.8% this year (slower than last year but higher than earlier forecasts of 2% or less). Jin Nyum, the finance minister, predicts that, although exports may suffer next year if the Japanese yen continues to fall, domestic demand and public spending will help real GDP to grow near to the country's full potential of 5%.

  Some analysts argue that the recent market rise has been caused by investors' blind faith in bank and technology shares. The latter rallied last month, but then hesitated as Micron, an American memory-chip maker, blew hot and cold on taking a stake in or allying with Hynix, Korea's debt-laden maker of memory chips.

  Nevertheless, the rally is likely to continue, says Koh Wonjong, of SG Securities in Seoul. That is because South Korea's industries are more diversified--into information technology, cars, shipbuilding, steel and services--than those of other Asian countries. In Taiwan, telecoms, media and technology shares account for 80% of the market.

  The restructuring of some big companies, such as Hynix and Daewoo Motor, remains incomplete, as does bank reform. But the past four years of financial and corporate change may soon pay off. For many companies, balance-sheet problems have turned into the need to measure profits, a far more welcome task.

  Economist; 12/22/2001, Vol. 361 Issue 8253, p86, 1/2p, 1 graph


  bar prep. 除…之外

  rally n. 重整;(市场价格) 回升,跌后复升;恢复健康; 振作精神;集会, 大会;汽车赛会

  over-the-counter【证券】 (不通过交易所)买卖双方直接交易的,场外交易的(每位买者或卖者都是经过协议与议价来达成


  option n. 选择权, [经]买卖的特权

  interest-rate swap 利率掉期;利率调期

  won [wCn] n. [sing., pl. ]圆(南北朝鲜的货币单位)

  index futures 指数期货

  hedge n. [经]对冲

  blow hot and cold (on, about) 出尔反尔;三心二意; 反复无常; 拿不定主意

  stake [steIk] n. (木头或金属的)柱,桩;股份;利害关系

  have [take] a stake in sth. 与某事有利害关系,与…休戚相关

  debt-laden 债台高筑的

  pay off 还清;偿清;报复;偿还;结清工资解雇(某人);成功




  尽管世界经济不景气, 但今年南韩的股市行情却比除俄国以外其他国家的股市都好。自1月1日以来,韩国股市的综合股价指数(Kospi)上升了25%。因外国股东购买股票而使韩国股市跌后复升的情况明年还有望持续下去,原因有二:它遵循令人鼓舞的经济基本法则;引入了为世界对冲基金所钟爱的衍生工具。

  明年1月28日,韩国的证券交易所就将引入以下七家上市公司股票选择权契约:SK电信、韩国电力、韩国电信、三星电子、现代汽车、浦项钢铁和韩国国民银行。7月份,预计金融监督管理委员会允许投资银行出售场外衍生工具,如股权或利率调期。证券市场的交易额也将相应增加, 美林集团总裁Lee Wonki说。外国股东持有近90兆韩圆(700亿美元)的韩国股票, 占整个股市的37%。他们的综合股价指数200期货和选择权的交易额从一年前的约5%上升到今年的10%。但涉及200个公司的韩国综合股价指数不是限制外国股票投资的最好方式。


  有些分析人员争辩说,最近的市场攀高是由于投资者轻率盲目相信了银行和科技股造成的。后者(科技股)上个月跌后复升, 但随后又像美光科技(美国的一家内存芯片生产厂家)那样出现徘徊不前的局面,这使那些与现代(韩国债台高筑的内存芯片制造商)利害相关或与之结盟的投资者拿不定主意。

  然而, 股市上升走势可能还会继续下去, 设在汉城的SG证券Koh Wonjong说,这是因为南韩的产业界比其它亚洲国家的产业界更具多样化——它有信息技术、汽车、造船、钢铁和服务业等行业,而在台湾,电信、媒介和技术股占了整个股市的80%。


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