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No. of listed firms falls to 6-yr low: KRX

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's stock markets saw the number of listed companies fall to a six-year low this month, data showed Monday, due mainly to the prolonged economic slump denting business sentiment here.

According to the data by the Korea Exchange (KRX), 1,760 firms were listed on the main bourse and the tech-heavy KOSDAQ market as of Saturday, marking the lowest number since 1,752 tallied at end-October 2007.

The main bourse accounted for 771 and the KOSDAQ market took up 989. It also marked the first time for the KOSDAQ's number to hover below the 1,000 mark. Both markets are operated by the KRX.

Only two companies were newly listed on the main bourse this year, while 16 firms were delisted. The KOSDAQ market also only added 16 companies over the cited period, while 30 others were delisted.

Market watchers said the falling number came as the prolonged economic slump dented listed firms' earnings, driving some companies to be delisted from the markets.

Non-listed firms also delayed their listing on concerns that the country's stagnant stock market condition and investors' weaker appetite for shares will weigh down on their shares' evaluated prices, they added.

"Although four to five firms are ready to be listed on the main bourse, the companies are taking a wait-and-see approach on the market condition," said Yang Tae-young, an official from the KRX.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 1,955.31 Friday, down 3.7 percent from 2,031.10 tallied in the first trading session of 2013.

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