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The Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) is an index which tracks the stock performance of all the companies listed on the Korea Exchange’s Stock Market Division. The KOSPI is used as the primary indicator of the Korean economy, and has been running since 1983.
This page will give you a quick insight into the history of the KOSPI, let you know how the stocks it tracks are selected, and give you all the information you need to know in order to invest in the index’s performance.
The KOSPI was started in 1983, and backdated to 4th January 1980, at which point it was given a base value of 100 index points. At that point, it included all the stocks traded on the Korea Stock Exchange. This is still the case, but the exchange was amalgamated with the Korea Futures Exchange and KOSDAQ Stock Market in 2005 to form what is now known as the Korea Exchange.
The KOSPI is weighted by market capitalisation and closed at its all-time high of 2,598.19 on 29th January 2018. The index has largely seen a broad uptrend since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, but like many other indices, was hit hard by the financial turmoil released by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020.
The KOSPI is made up of all the stocks traded on the Stock Market Division of the Korea Exchange. This includes over 2,000 companies, and so there are other more narrow indices that track only the largest companies listed on the exchange. These indices include the KPOSI 200 and KRX 100.
To invest in the KOSPI index you can use either a single financial product (either an ETF or a mutual fund) or carry out individual trades to buy all the stocks tracked by the index. This latter option isn’t very feasible with the KOSPI because it tracks over 2,000 stocks, so your best option is an ETF or a mutual fund.
An ETF (exchange-traded fund) is a fund that you can trade at any point on an exchange. This means you can invest in a way that tracks the performance of an index (e.g. the KOSPI), but retain the flexibility of being able to sell at any time. A mutual fund similarly offers you the ability to invest in the KOSPI or another index, but can only be bought or sold at the end of each day’s trading and also incurs higher fees than an ETF. In general, unless you’re looking to buy and hold your investment in the KOSPI for a long period of time, an ETF is probably the best option.