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Taiwan shares end above 10,900 points as TSMC leads gains

2018/04/19 17:52:23

Taipei, April 19 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan extended their momentum from a session earlier to gain more than 100 points, ending above the 10,900-point mark Thursday, with the bellwether electronics sector attracting strong buying throughout the session, dealers said.

Market attention focused on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which moved sharply higher, as many investors were hoping that the world's largest contract chipmaker would give impressive sales guidance for the second quarter in an investor conference due to start after the market closed, the dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, or Taiex, closed up 123.33 points, or 1.14 percent, at 10,971.22, after moving between 10,889.71 and 10,983.96, on turnover of NT$153.04 billion (US$5.21 billion).

The market opened up 0.40 percent as investors ignored a mixed Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.16 percent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ index rose 0.19 percent overnight, the dealers said.

Momentum accelerated as investors rushed to pick up TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, which boosted the Taiex, while buying also spread to the non-high tech sector, helping the broader market stand well above 10,900 points by the end of the session, they said.

"Thanks to TSMC, the local main board jumped over the technical hurdles ahead of 10,900 points," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said, adding that TSMC's gains contributed a rise of about 65 points in the weighted index Thursday.

TSMC rose 2.73 percent to close at the day's high of NT$244.50, with 31.87 million shares changing hands. Led by TSMC, the bellwether electronics sector ended up 1.38 percent and the semiconductor sub-index closed 2.36 percent higher.

After the market closed, TSMC reported in the investor conference that its net profit for the first quarter fell 9.6 percent from a quarter earlier to NT$89.79 billion due to the slow-season effect.

TSMC's buying spread to other tech stocks, with DRAM supplier Nanya Technology Corp. up 5.16 percent to close at NT$97.90 and PC brand Acer Inc. also up 7.50 percent to end at NT$23.65.

Bucking the downturn on the broader market, Largan Precision Co., a smartphone camera lens supplier to Apple Inc., fell 0.99 percent to close at NT$3,490.00 as a U.S. brokerage cut its target for iPhone sales.

In the cement sector, which was boosted by rising product prices, Asia Cement Corp. gained 3.25 percent to end at NT$30.15 and Taiwan Cement Corp. rose 2.09 percent to close at NT$39.00.

Also in the old economy sector, food brand Uni-President Enterprises Corp. added 3.09 percent to end at NT$73.40 and China Steel Corp., the largest steel supplier in Taiwan, rose 1.28 percent to close at NT$23.70.

"Looking at the strong gains posted by tech and non-tech stocks, I think that not only foreign institutional investors but also major local market players stood on the buy side today," Su said, adding that he was told that government-led funds also jumped onto the trading floor.

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$5.77 billion-worth of shares on the main board Thursday.

"But unless the Taiex breaches the 11,000-point mark, the local market will continue to move in a limited range," Su said. "Whether the main board makes a breakthrough will depend on business fundamentals and external factors such as Wall Street's performance," he added.

(By Frances Huang)