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Taiwan shares end higher, boosted by tech stocks

2018/02/01 17:34:03

Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan moved higher on Thursday as the bellwether electronics sector, led by chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and other large cap tech stocks, boosted the broader market, dealers said.

After an early high, the main board leveled off as some investors took to the sidelines ahead of Apple Inc.'s investor conference later in the day, waiting for leads on iPhone X shipments, dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) closed up 56.46 points, or 0.51 percent, at 11,160.25, after moving between 11,139.40 and 11,212.10. Turnover totaled NT$120.93 billion (US$4.15 billion) during the session.

The market opened up 0.32 percent on follow-through buying from the previous session and continued to rise, driven by TSMC and other large cap tech stocks such as iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Largan Precision Co., a smartphone camera lens supplier to Apple, dealers said.

After the weighted index hit the day's high, however, some investors began locking in their gains, which limited the upturn of the broader market by the end of the session amid caution ahead of Apple's investor conference, dealers said.

"The main board briefly breached 11,189 points, an intraday high reached on Tuesday, but later came off that high," KGI Securities analyst Phil Chu said. "It was an indication that technical resistance remained stiff ahead of 11,189 points, so unless turnover increases to NT$140 billion or more, it will be hard for the weighted index to hold above that technical resistance point."

TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, gained 1.76 percent to close at NT$259.50, leading the rise of the main board, on the back of its healthy fundamentals, Chu said.

"I think foreign institutional investors stood on the buy side today to pick up tech heavyweights," he said

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$1.39 billion worth of shares on the main board Thursday.

Led by TSMC, the bellwether electronics sector closed up 0.84 percent, and the semiconductor sub-index ended 1.41 percent higher.

"However, investors have to stay alert to a possible pullback of TSMC shares as they move closer to the NT$266 technical resistance level," Chu said.

The buying in TSMC also spread to other electronics stocks, with Hon Hai, second only to TSMC in terms of market value, gaining 1.41 percent to close at NT$93.50, and Largan finishing 1.87 percent higher at NT$4,080.00.

Integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc. rose 2.68 percent to close at NT$307.00 after posting a 1 percentage point quarterly increase in its gross margin for the fourth quarter of last year on a better product mix.

The non-tech sector, meanwhile, was mixed, with Wei Chuan Foods Corp. rising 1.28 percent to close at NT$23.80, and rival Uni-President Enterprises Corp. gaining 0.43 percent to end at NT$70.30. China Steel Corp., the largest steel maker in Taiwan, fell 0.20 percent to close at NT$24.85, while Formosa Plastics Corp. ended 0.48 percent lower at NT$103.00.

"Today's reduced turnover indicated that many investors were reluctant to chase prices as they wanted to wait for Apple's report on its iPhone X sales, which have affected market sentiment in recent sessions," Chu said. "In general, investors are waiting for Apple's guidance at its investor conference."

(By Frances Huang)