Impact of Ahn’s bid likely to be felt today

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Impact of Ahn’s bid likely to be felt today

The stock price of AhnLab, the antivirus firm founded by software mogul-turned-professor Ahn Cheol-soo, edged down yesterday in reflection of investors’ uncertainty as the market closed just prior to Ahn declaring that he will in fact make a run for the presidency.

Shares of Korea’s leading antivirus firm, in which Ahn has a 28.56 percent interest, closed at 124,900 won ($112), down 100 won from Tuesday.

“Normally, stocks related to a presidential candidate rise when he officially declares his bid to run for the nation’s top seat,” said Lee Sang-yun, a Seoul-based analyst at Tongyang Securities. “But yesterday’s outcome with AhnLab was different as the press conference happened [at 3 p.m.] after the market’s close. Some investors ditched their stock as they were unsure whether he would run. But the price of AhnLab will jump when the market opens [today].”

Lee said the fate of AhnLab’s stock movements depends on Ahn’s future approval rating, but he cautioned investors to consider holding back as the company’s value has already been inflated by public sentiment beyond what would be considered reasonable in light of its fundamentals.

Political stocks related to Park Geun-hye of the ruling Saenuri Party and Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic United Party - considered Ahn’s top rivals in the run for power - showed a mixed response yesterday. Shares of EG, of which Park’s younger brother Ji-man is chairman, closed at 58,900 won, down 1.01 percent.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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