Asia Online Broker Stocks Hit Jackpot In Global Retail Mania

(Bloomberg) – The growing retail hype has rocked many stocks this year, from the most abbreviated U.S. names to anything silver-related. Outside of the chat rooms, however, there is another winner: online brokerage stocks.

Shenzhen-based Futu Holdings Ltd. is already up 156% this year, and Singapore-listed iFast Corp has more than doubled. In South Korea, Kiwoom Securities Co. is up more than 18%. The moves have hurt the performance of a Bloomberg index of the area’s institutional brokerage firms, which rose only 1% over the same period.

The strong performance of this market pocket is due to a rapid increase in the number of young retail investors. More than 50% of Futu’s new users are from the post-1990s generation, and more than half are first-time investors, Citigroup Inc. analysts, including Daphne Poon, found last week, citing a survey by the broker.

The Citi team doubled their Futu price target on Jan. 22 after the Tencent-backed company was the only retail-focused broker in the top ten Hong Kong brokers by trading volume. The stock is just 2.3% off Citi’s price target after the recent rally.

« With Tencent as its largest outside shareholder, Futu has technical and business support from Tencent, » wrote Zhang Jingyi, an analyst at Bocom International, in an email. « We believe that Futu has great growth potential and will deliver good operating results. »

Seoul-based Kiwoom, whose trading app is popular with South Korean retail investors, doubled its accounts to 7 million last year after the Kospi benchmark index rose more than 30%, according to the company.

In addition to the retail frenzy, Singapore’s iFast, a fintech wealth management platform aimed at digitally savvy clients, will benefit from its partnership with PCCW Solutions in Hong Kong, according to a notice from Jefferies Financial Group Inc., PCCW, has just received an order from PCCW has digitized the pension fund system in Hong Kong.

Jefferies raised its target price on iFast to $ 7.80 Singapore, up 15% from Tuesday’s level.

Asia’s online brokers are benefiting from a surge in retail activity in the region, especially in small capitalization stocks. More than 350 billion stocks of MSCI Asia Pacific Small Cap Index members changed hands in January and prolonged a volume surge in December that has been dwarfed every month since May 2009.

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Asia Online Broker Stocks Hit Jackpot In Global Retail Mania
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