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Taiwan shares end moderately up, set new 28-year high

2018/01/23 17:30:00

Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan closed moderately higher as late trading session buying helped the broader market recover from its earlier doldrums caused by investors locking in profits from earlier in the session, dealers said.

The main board closed at a new 28-year record, as contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) continued its upward momentum amid optimism over the chipmaker's operations for 2018, they said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed up 21.65 points, or 0.19 percent, at 11,253.11, after moving between 11,201.52 and 11,270.18, on turnover of NT$157.59 billion (US$5.39 billion).

Tuesday's closing level was the highest since March 21, 1990, when the weighted index ended at 11.257.23 points.

The market opened up 0.11 percent and moved to the day's high as investors took their cue from a rebounding Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average recouped earlier losses to end up more than 100 points overnight after U.S. lawmakers reached a deal that will resume government operations to end a three-day shutdown, dealers said.

With selling emerging for investors to take profits, the broader market fell into negative territory and continued to see-saw for most of the session, while TSMC served as an anchor preventing the weighted index falling further, they said.

Last ditch buying further reinforced TSMC and boosted other large-cap stocks in both the electronics and non-high tech sectors to help the broader market recover by the close, they added.

"The local equity market remained awash in liquidity. So after selling dragged the index down, bargain hunters appeared willing to jump onto the trading floor to continue to push up share prices as a whole," Mega International Investment Services Corp. analyst Alex Huang said.

"The latest movements show the local main board remains technically healthy with no fears of overshooting, despite recent solid gains," Huang said. "I think it is possible that the weighted index will keep moving higher at a moderate pace over the next few sessions."

Huang said TSMC was serving as a driver for the broader market after the chipmaker forecast its sales for 2018 will grow 10-15 percent in U.S. dollar terms, beating an earlier market estimate of 5-10 percent.

TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, gained 1.72 percent to close at the day's high of NT$266.00 with 33.41 million shares changing hands. The stock was further bolstered by late session buying which pushed up the closing level and its market value to a new high.

Led by TSMC, the bellwether electronics sector closed up 0.38 percent and the semiconductor sub-index ended up 1.26 percent.

TSMC buying also rotated to its smaller rival United Microelectronics Corp., the second largest contract chipmaker in Taiwan, which closed up 4.29 percent at NT$14.60.

Late session buying also boosted selected stocks across the board with shares in iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. up 0.31 percent to end at NT$96.90, off a low of NT$95.50, with 50.14 million shares changing hands.

In the non-tech sector, shares in Nan Ya Plastics Corp. rose 0.12 percent to close at NT$80.90 after hitting a low of NT$80.20, and Cathay Financial Holding Co. gained 0.72 percent to end at NT$56.00, off a low of NT$55.30, while China Steel Corp., the largest steel maker in Taiwan, ended down 0.20 percent at NT$25.00, but recovered from a low of NT$24.90.

"Investors had better pay attention to the movement of the U.S. dollar," Huang said. "If the greenback stays weak, foreign investors will move more funds into the region, which is expected to benefit equity shares," Huang said.

(By Frances Huang)