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Foreign ownership of Samsung Electronics hits 27-month low

All News 10:51 January 27, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 27 (Yonhap) -- Foreign ownership of Samsung Electronics Co. has dropped to the lowest level in 27 months, data showed Wednesday, as unfavorable external conditions make overseas investors risk-averse.

Offshore investors owned 48.97 percent of Samsung Electronics shares as of Monday, marking the lowest since Oct. 2, 2013, when the figure came to 48.94 percent, according to data by the Korea Exchange (KRX).

Foreign stock ownership of the top-cap company on the main stock market here has been on the decline since July, when it reached a yearly peak of 51.86 percent.

It is in line with foreigners' heavy sell-off of local shares amid lingering concerns over a global economic slowdown and the subsequent market rout across the globe.

They sold more than 6.5 trillion won worth of local stocks over the past 37 sessions in a row if excluding the net purchase on Jan. 6, following the block deal of Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. It is the longest sell-off run ever.

"Weaker-than-expected earnings and currency fluctuations also appear to cause Samsung to lose its allure to foreigners," said Kim Kwang-hyun, a researcher at Yuanta Securities.

With its fourth quarter earnings due Thursday, Samsung said earlier this month that its operating profit would plunge 17.5 percent on-quarter due mainly to sluggish sales of smartphones and memory chips. It would be the first time since the July-September period of 2014 for Samsung to post an on-quarter drop.

"In case external conditions improve and foreigners resume picking up risky assets, however, Samsung and other key exporters will make a strong rebound," Kiwoom Securities expert Ma Joo-ok said.

On Tuesday, Samsung Electronics declined 2.15 percent to 1,137,000 won.


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