Taiwan shares end little changed after giving up earlier gains

04/19/2019 05:29 PM
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Taipei, April 19 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan closed little changed Friday as investors shifted to the sell side, taking advantage of earlier gains on the main board which breached 11,000 points at one point, dealers said.

Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the two top stocks on the local market in terms of market capitalization, led the broader market in giving up earlier gains, while the financial sector appeared resilient, lending support to the broader market, they said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) or the Taiex ended up 6.48 points, or 0.06 percent, at 10,968.50, after moving between 10,950.43 and 11,045.08, on turnover of NT$126.49 billion (US$4.11 billion).

The market opened up 0.51 percent to jump over the 11,000 point mark on a technical rebound from the previous session, when the Taiex ended down 0.32 percent, with investors encouraged to buy by the gains posted on U.S. markets, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.42 percent and the S&P 500 index gained 0.16 percent, dealers said.

The Taiex rose to the day's high in the early morning session led by the bellwether electronics sector, but selling emerged, in particular after 10 a.m., to erode earlier gains and push the benchmark index below 11,000 points by the end of the session, dealers added.

"It was the third consecutive trading session the Taiex has come off earlier gains and failed to sustain its strength above 11,000 points," Dayu Securities Investment Consulting Co. analyst Chang Chih-cheng said.

"There is no doubt that technical resistance ahead of that level has been stiff," Chang said. "Today's reduced turnover showed many investors prefer to stay on the sidelines and not chase prices for the moment."

Chang said large cap stocks such as TSMC and Hon Hai were the main targets of the latest profit taking.

TSMC closed unchanged at NT$264.50 after hitting a high of NT$269.50 with 44.59 million shares changing hands, while shares in Hon Hai fell 2.95 percent to end at NT$88.90, off a high of NT$92.90 on trading volume of 84.16 million shares.

"For both stocks, their own positive news had been factored into the share price so it was no surprise that investors looked to lock in their earlier gains now," Chang said.

TSMC's earlier gains came after an investor conference held Thursday indicated the world's largest pure wafer foundry operator will see sales growth momentum pick up in the second half of this year.

For its part, Hon Hai has enjoyed an uptrend in recent sessions after Terry Gou (郭台銘) announced on Wednesday that he will take part in the primary of the opposition Kuomintang for the 2020 presidential election.

Also in the bellwether electronics sector, which closed down 0.05 percent at 456.88, after hitting a high of 462.83, Largan Precision Co., a supplier of smartphone camera lenses to Apple Inc., lost 0.97 percent to close at NT$4,585.00.

"I think the three tech heavyweights have entered consolidation mode, so without a breakthrough by the three stocks, the movement of the broader market is expected to turn slow and hopes for the Taiex to close above 11,000 points have been reduced," Chang said.

As a market laggard, the financial sector closed up 0.33 percent, preventing the broader market from falling further. Among the gaining financial stocks, CTBC Financial Holding Co. rose 0.99 percent to close at NT$20.40, Fubon Financial Holding Co. added 0.44 percent to end at NT$45.20, and Cathay Financial Holding Co. rose 0.34 percent to close at NT$44.35.

"The earnings season at home and in the U.S. markets is on the way, which is expected to move share prices down the road," Chang said, adding that it is possible the Taiex will test the nearest technical support at around 10,850 points.

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$9.34 billion worth of shares on the main board Friday.

(By Frances Huang)


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