Samsung, Tesla Shares Lose Luster for Small Investors

  • By Hong Jun-ki

    June 18, 2021 12:29

    Small investors' passionate love affair with Samsung Electronics stocks is cooling quickly, and their second favorite Tesla too is losing its luster. So popular was Samsung at one point that fully 40 percent of all new retail investors bought the blue-chip stock, but so far this month they have been selling it.

    According to the Korea Securities Depository, Tesla, which was the most-bought foreign stock among Korean retail investors from last October to April this year fell to second place in May and fourth place this month.

    Retail investors bought W50.7 trillion worth of stocks on the KOSPI so far this year, surpassing the total for the whole of last year (US$1=W1,135). From January to May, Samsung shares were their favorite investment, but since the beginning of this month they have sold W110 billion worth of them.

    Instead, they fell on steelmaker POSCO with the same rapacious hunger. Samsung's share price has been virtually flat from W81,000 in late 2020 to W81,800 on Wednesday after peaking at W96,800 in mid-January.

    Samsung Securities analyst Chung Myung-ji said, "It appears that retail investors are selling Samsung shares, which are not rising very much in a bullish overall stock market that is setting new records."

    Among overseas stocks, Tesla was overtaken by Amazon in May and has now also been surpassed by Airbnb, Apple and AMC Entertainment. Tesla's stocks have been sluggish at around US$600 for some time now.

    Korean investors bought $13.7 billion worth of foreign stocks so far this year, which is equivalent to 69.6 percent of last year's total. Their U.S. stock transactions totaled $180.96 billion so far this year, surpassing the whole of last year's, and Tesla epitomized the craze. But more recently they sold more Tesla stocks than they bought.

    Airbnb, by contrast, is not that expensive, trading at around $149 per share after surpassing $200 earlier this year, but investors are betting that it will grow as international travel resumes and the pandemic eases.

    Theater chain operator AMC Entertainment is considered a "meme stock," which is in demand purely because it has been trending on social media. Most AMC Entertainment stockholders are looking for short-term gains, but some appear to be in it for the long haul.

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