Mirae Asset falters amid market turmoil

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Mirae Asset falters amid market turmoil

Shares in Mirae Asset Securities, once deemed a pioneer of the Korean brokerage industry’s future, fell to a near record low yesterday.

The share plunged by the daily limit of 15 percent yesterday to 48,000 won ($33.80), the same price set at the initial public offering when the brokerage was listed on Feb. 15, 2006. The stock’s lowest close was 47,600 won on June 23, 2006.

“Considering the price boost from the company’s recent capital increase, Mirae’s share price virtually dipped to a record low,” said Kim Ji-young, an analyst at Hi Investment and Securities.

On Monday, Mirae purchased 250,000 of its own shares at 13.4 billion won. Other brokerages and banks also dropped by the daily limit after a liquidity problem of C& Group, a local conglomerate, sparked concern the financial crisis will resurface.

Still, analysts say Mirae’s free fall is conspicuous given its weight in the local brokerage industry. Mirae, the largest seller of equity funds among local brokerages, saw its stock price surge beginning in the latter half of last year when many global stock markets, including Korea’s, rose to record highs.

Mirae once reached 200,000 won in intra-day trading in early November. The stock market turmoil this year, however, eroded much of last year’s gain.

A recent report by JPMorgan Chase accelerated its downfall. The U.S. investment house said earlier this month that it cut Mirae’s target price from 171,000 won to 65,000 won, citing the growing possibility of a fund run in Korea. This month alone, it fell more than 50 percent.

By Moon Gwang-lip Staff Reporter [joe@joongang.co.kr]
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