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Asset managers' sway over stock market decreasing: data

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- Asset managers' presence on the local stock market is decreasing, with the portion of stocks in their fund portfolios to the total market capitalization hitting the lowest in eight years, data showed on Monday.

According to the data compiled by the Korea Financial Investment Association, stocks under asset managers' investment fund portfolio accounted for 5.89 percent of the total market cap at the end of last year, the lowest since 2005 when the comparable figure was 5.67 percent.

After reaching the highest at 9.63 percent in 2008, the figure has been on a steady decline, hovering around 6 percent. The comparable figures for 2010 and 2011 were 6.27 percent and 6.40 percent, respectively. Last year, the reading stood at 6.09 percent, according to the data.

The sharp decline in asset managers' footing came as investors remained cautious in funneling money into stock funds amid a sluggish run on the local stock market, analysts said.

"The bear run on the local stock market is prodding many fund managers to take to the sidelines," said Bae Sung-jin, an analyst at Hyundai Securities. "The trend may continue for the time being, but exposures to risky assets may increase," he said.

The country's key stock index, the KOSPI, gained 0.72 percent last year, sharply falling from the previous year's annual rise of 9.4 percent.

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