SEOUL, Jan. 31 (Yonhap) — South Korean retail investors snapped up a net 25.8 trillion won (US$23 billion) worth of local stocks in January alone, data showed Sunday, in the latest sign of their relentless buying spree.

Individual investors bought a net 22.3 trillion won worth of stocks in the main market and a net 3.5 trillion won of shares in the secondary-KOSDAQ market in January, according to the data compiled by the bourse operator Korea Exchange.

The figure amounted to 40 percent of their total net stock purchases, or 63.8 trillion won recorded for the whole of 2020, the data showed.

Retail investors have emerged as strong stock buyers in the local markets since last year.

The country’s benchmark stock index jumped 30 percent last year on the back of their buying spree and soared above 3,000 points for the first time early this month.

Mom-and-pop investors mostly snapped up large caps, such as chipmakers and autos, in January, the data showed.

They bought a combined net 12.1 trillion won worth of common and preferred stocks of market bellwether Samsung Electronics. This accounted for about half of their total net buying in January, the data showed.

In the cited period, institutional investors unloaded a net 19.6 trillion won worth of stocks on the two markets, while foreigners sold a net 5.9 trillion won worth of local shares.

An electronic signboard at a Kookmin Bank dealing room in Seoul shows the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,976.21 on Jan. 29, 2021, down 92.84 points, or 3.03 percent, from the previous session’s close. (Yonhap)