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Hurt by food safety concerns, Taiwan shares fall 1.35%

2012/03/05 19:08:11

Taipei, March 5 (CNA) Shares prices in Taiwan fell 1.35 percent on Monday, dragged down by heavy losses in food shares amid concerns over an avian flu outbreak at local poultry farms.

The weighted index fell 109.7 points, or 1.35 percent, to close at 8,004.74 on turnover of NT$107.04 billion (US$3.63 billion).

The market was also pulled lower by "Apple concept" stocks on profit-taking following their recent gains despite positive news on the iPad 3 tablet, which is expected to be unveiled in San Francisco on Wednesday.

The market opened flat at 8,106.5 but then quickly rose to the day's high of 8,115.49 before profit-taking set in. It fell to a low of 7,998.96 late in the session before rebounding slightly ahead of the close.

A total of 956 stocks closed up and 3,551 finished down, with 228 remaining unchanged.

Shares in all of the eight main sectors on the exchange closed down, with those in the food sector suffering the heaviest losses, losing 2.6 percent.

Great Wall Enterprise Co., the largest chicken provider in Taiwan, closed down 3.73 percent at NT$31.00 on the first business day after news emerged of an outbreak of the H5N2 avian flu strain at poultry farms in central and southern Taiwan.

Another major chicken provider, Charoen Pokphand Enterprise (Taiwan) Co., fell 5.69 percent to NT$15.75 during the session.

The two companies said their own chicken farms and contract farms were not affected by the outbreak and stressed that their chicken products were all strictly examined before being shipped to customers.

But dealers said investors still needed to monitor developments because if the outbreak were to get out of control, it could impact tourism and the restaurant industry.

Machinery and electronics shares closed down 1.3 percent hurt by "Apple concept" stocks.

Among the suppliers to Apple, Dynapack International Technology Corp., a major battery supplier for iPad 3, lost 1.86 percent to NT$185.00, while aluminum housing maker Catcher Technology Co. closed down 4.68 percent at NT$224.00.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., which assembles iPhones and iPads for the American consumer electronics giant, lost 0.50 percent to NT$100.50.

Among other sectors, cement shares fell 0.5 percent and construction stocks lost 1.3 percent.

Ruentex Development Co., which holds a major stake in RT-Mart China, the largest hypermarket chain by retail sales in China, fell the maximum allowable 7 percent to NT$38.6 after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao set his nation's growth target for 2012 at 7.5 percent, the lowest in eight years.

Textile shares shed 2.1 percent, financial stocks lost 1.9 percent, paper and pulp shares fell 1.7 percent, and plastics and chemical shares lost 1.0 percent.

(By Han Ting-ting and Hanna Liu)