By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- Foreign investment banks (IBs) are predicting South Korea's key stock index could rise as much as to the 2,380 mark next year on the back of improved economic conditions here and abroad, a report showed Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs estimated the benchmark KOSPI will advance to 2,300 next year, or 2,450 at the most, as consumer prices are expected to stabilize at 2.7 percent upon an expected modest economic recovery, according to Kwon Goo-hoon, the managing director and co-head of research at Goldman Sachs Asia.
JP Morgan suggested the main index will move within a range of 2,090-2,380 in 2013 as monetary easing and an increase in exports will likely fuel growth, according to the report by the Korea Center for International Finance (KCIF).
As of Dec. 4, the main index has moved up 6 percent this year but has mostly hovered below the psychologically important 2,000-mark with a sharp decline in its daily turnover. It closed down 0.25 percent at 1,935.18 on Tuesday.
JP Morgan added the upward trend of the KOSPI will peak in the second half of next year and predicted domestic-related shares could outperform exporters or IT issues given that households' purchase power will likely rise.
Morgan Stanley projected the index will rise to 2,200. The latter noted that the Korean economy has probably bottomed out in the third quarter of this year and thus will likely head for a moderate rebound from this quarter, buoyed by government-led boost measures.
On the aspect of a flow of foreign funds, Nomura said there are plenty of possibilities for foreigners to increase their bets in the KOSPI, as the likelihood of a worsening eurozone is slim.
Meanwhile, the Japanese IB expected the KOSPI will likely get a boost from the sales of the smartphone Galaxy series, the flagship product of tech behemoth Samsung Electronics Co. Nomura tagged 2 million won ($1,845) on the outlook of the top-cap firm's share price in 2013, a 40 percent surge from its Tuesday value.
Kwon of Goldman Sachs gave a rosy picture for automobile shares, saying the negative impact from a strong local currency has already been reflected in the prices. Rather, a downward trend of global crude oil and an expected increase in Chinese demand will likely buoy their valuations next year, he added.
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