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Leverage Investments up by 34% in a Month

Those who had borrowed money from brokerages to buy stocks have suffered an “automatic sell”

Leverage investments among small investors went up by 34.3 percent to 8.65 trillion won as of Thursday from 6.44 trillion won on March 24, according to the Korea Financial Investment Association.

The increase was reflected in both the first-tier Kospi and secondary Kosdaq.

Consequently, the increase allowed the Kospi benchmark index to trade above 1,850 since mid-April.

The index dipped below 1,500 on March 19 after trading at over 2,000 points in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The money borrowed offers gains of up to 50 percent or more if purchased with stocks in mid-March and sold a month later.

But those holding stocks when the index traded above 2,000 and sold between March 6-19 are deemed losers, as the index dropped from 2,040.22 on March 6 to 1,457.64 points on March 19.

Those who had borrowed money from brokerages to buy stocks have suffered an “automatic sell” when the ratio of the capital value of the credit-based stocks to the money brokerages paid in advance is estimated to have stayed under 140 percent.

These stocks could be purchased via automatic sales by cash-based small investors and local corporate investors at lower prices.

Some market insiders warned against leverage investing during the crisis as the bourses could experience a “double dip," wherein it would sink again after normalizing to a certain degree.

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