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Taiwan shares end up, led by tech sector

2019/01/11 17:30:18

Taipei, Jan. 11 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan moved higher Friday as investors were encouraged by the extended gains in the U.S. markets overnight to buy into the bellwether electronics sector, dealers said.

Buying in large cap stocks such as contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and Largan Precision Co., a smartphone camera lens supplier to Apple Inc., helped the broader market fend off the downward pressure on the old economy and financial stocks, they said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (Taiex) ended up 38.71 points, or 0.40 percent, at 9,759.40, after moving between 9,736.00 and 9,796.98. Turnover totaled NT$93.82 billion (US$3.05 billion).

The market opened up 0.34 percent, and rose to the day's high at around 10 a.m. in the wake of a spike on U.S. markets, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.51 percent and the tech-savvy Nasdaq gained 0.42 percent Thursday.

As the Taiex moved closer to the 9,800 point mark, however, some investors shifted to the sell side, cutting their holdings in certain old economy and financial stocks, which capped the gains by tech heavyweights, dealers said.

"After a rally earlier this week, the local main board fell into consolidation mode, moving in a narrow range," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said.

"It was no surprise that today's gains were capped and it was not easy for the Taiex to make another breakthrough despite the U.S. rally overnight," he said.

Before Friday, the Taiex had gained 3.60 percent this week in line with a rally in the global markets amid eased concerns over the trade tensions between the United States and China.

The buying Friday was focused on tech stocks such as TSMC and Largan, while other stocks across the board largely appeared sluggish, Su said.

TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, rose 2.08 percent to close at NT$220.50, with 28.08 million shares changing hands, which contributed about 45 points to the gains on the broader market.

Largan soared 8.23 percent to end at NT$3,550.00 amid optimism that it would maintain its lead in the development of triple lenses, although the company reported a sequential decline of more than 20 percent in its fourth-quarter net profit due to weaker-than-expected iPhone sales.

In the bellwether electronics sector, which closed up 0.95 percent, iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. rose 0.14 percent to end at NT$69.40, while Catcher Technology Co., a metal casing supplier to Apple, closed unchanged at NT$212.00, and Pegatron Corp., another iPhone assembler, dropped 0.82 percent to finish at NT$48.10.

The financial sector, meanwhile, came under pressure due to the fourth-quarter foreign exchange losses suffered by insurance firms, which dragged down the 2018 net profit of major financial holding companies, Su said, citing earnings reports released Thursday.

Among the falling financial stocks, Cathay Financial Holding Co. fell 0.65 percent to close at NT$45.55, and Fubon Financial Holding Co. ended down 2.03 percent at NT$45.95.

In the mixed old economy sector, food brand Uni-President Enterprises Corp. rose 0.85 percent to close at NT$71.10 and Formosa Plastics Corp. gained 1.00 percent to end at NT$101.50, while Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. dropped 0.93 percent to close at NT$106.00 and Eclat Textile Co. ended 0.83 percent lower at NT$358.50.

"Investors should continue to watch how the Washington-Beijing trade disputes evolve," Su said. "While both sides said their trade talks (on Wednesday) went well, they have not released any details of their negotiations."

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$5.87 billion worth of shares on the main board Friday.

(By Frances Huang)
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