The Korean stock market : structure, behaviour and test of market efficiency
This thesis evaluates the Korean capital market internationalisation and examines the efficiency of the Korean stock market comprehensively. For this purpose this study is concentrated onthree main areas as follows. First, this thesis evaluates the capital market liberalisation by examining the internal market mechanism and conducting geographical comparisons. The general structure of the Korean securities market and disclosure system are described, and the development of the capital market is reviewed. The liberalisation plan is examined. It is found that the internationalisation plan of the Korean capital market should be gradual and balanced with general economic conditions. Several measures are recommended to enhance the functions of the domestic capital markets. Also comparative characteristics of capital market in the Far East are described, including equity market, bond market, money market, and foreign exchange market. Second, this thesis examines the relationship between the macro economic activities and the capital market in Korea. Using the interest rate model for 14.5 years, the expected inflation is uniformly positively related to inflation. The relations between stock returns and expected inflation, and between stock returns and unexpected inflation showed negative. Thus, the common stocks in Korea are found not hedging against inflation. And real variables influence to real stock returns as fundamental determinants of equity values. However, these real stock return inflation relations are found varying over time. The results of the recent five and half years period showed positive relation or no relation between real stock return and inflation. Third, this thesis examines the efficiency of the Korean stock market at three different levels. In the weak form empirical tests, the results manifest mixed behavior across samples. But the average results by serial correlation analysis, runs analysis, and spectral analysis do not show random walk behavior. In the frequency distribution model, the average results indicate relatively fat tails. In the semi-strong form test, the valuation effects of bonus stock issue announcements are found to react to share prices in a relatively short period. Investors on average cannot get significant abnormal returns. In the strong form test, the excess returns from following the 467 recommendations made by the four Korean stockbrokers turned out to be significant before deducting transactions costs. But considering transactions costs, the abnormal gain is close to zero. In summary, the results show that the Korean stock market in its early stages did not have the ability to help investors to 'relatively correctly price' the shares. More recent evidence shows improved efficiency which is likely to continue as the capital market expands.