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Taiwan shares end lower on profit taking

2019/02/15 17:27:10

Taipei, Feb. 15 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan moved moderately lower Friday after early gains, encountering stiff technical resistance at around 10,100 points, as sentiment remained cautious toward global economic growth, dealers said.

Selling emerged in large cap stocks, particularly in major "Apple concept stocks," amid weakening global demand for the latest iPhones, they said.

Investors also pocketed their early gains in old economy and financial stocks, which further reined in the broader market, especially late in the trading session, dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) or the Taiex ended down 24.23 points, or 0.24 percent, at 10,064.78, after moving between 10,055.50 and 10,135.16. Turnover totaled NT$112.55 billion (US$3.65 billion) during the session.

The market opened up 0.22 percent and rose to the day's high on a mild technical rebound from the previous two sessions on the back of buying mostly in the bellwether electronics sector, dealers said.

When the Taiex breached 10,100 points, however, selling set in as investors rushed to lock in their gains in select "Apple concept stocks" amid lingering concerns over lower-than-expected iPhone sales worldwide and a global economic slowdown, dealers said.

"There have been high technical hurdles ahead of the 120-day moving average of around 10,120 points so the main board needs some time to overcome that resistance," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said.

"Investor sentiment has been bothered by the global economic slowdown," Su said. "The China-U.S. trade talks have not yet yielded any results, which is causing uncertainty in the market."

Among the stocks affected by the profit taking, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., an iPhone assembler for Apple Inc., fell 1.54 percent to close at NT$70.30 after hitting a high of NT$71.50. Largan Precision Co., a supplier of smartphone camera lens to Apple, lost 1.50 percent to end at NT$3,930.00, off an early high of NT$4,000.00.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), a supplier of iPhone processors, closed unchanged at NT$227.00, off an early high of NT$229.00, with 22.35 million shares changing hands.

"The movement of those Apple concept stocks showed worry over iPhone sales in the global market," Su said.

He said the Taiex would have fallen further if TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, had not bucked the downturn by closing flat.

The selling also spread to the non-tech sector, with food brand Uni-President Enterprises Corp. dropping 0.41 percent to close at NT$72.70, off a high of NT$73.40, and Formosa Plastics Corp. ending unchanged at NT$112.00 after hitting a high of NT$114.00.

In the financial sector, which closed down 0.31 percent, Fubon Financial Holding Co. fell 0.22 percent to end at NT$44.40, off a high of NT$44.65, Mega Financial Holding Co. dropped 0.38 percent to close at NT$26.40, off a high of NT$26.65, and CTBC Financial Holding Co. lost 0.83 percent to end at NT$20.45, off a high of NT$20.60.

According to TWSE's data, foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$5.23 billion worth of shares on the main board Friday.

(By Frances Huang)