Taiwan shares end up on U.S. gains - Focus Taiwan

Taiwan shares end up on U.S. gains

Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan moved higher Monday after U.S. markets posted gains at the end of last week following the release of strong job data in Washington, dealers said.

The electronics sector remained the engine pushing the market higher, led by semiconductor and optoelectronics stocks, but ongoing uncertainty over global trade limited the upward momentum, they said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE), the Taiex, closed up 51.13 points, or 0.44 percent, at 11,660.77, after moving between 11,631.03 and 11,678.36. Turnover was NT$120.35 billion (US$3.95 billion).

The market opened up 0.22 percent in response to a 1.2 percent rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 1 percent rise in the tech-heavy Nasdaq index due to better-than-expected non-farm payroll data for November, dealers said.

Buying then accelerated, focusing on large cap tech stocks, including contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and Largan Precision Co., a supplier of smartphone camera lenses to Apple Inc., they said.

Once the Taiex moved above the nearest point of technical resistance at 11,668, however, investors turned cautious because of fears of a possible pullback.

"Before today's rise, the market had already made significant gains since the beginning of this year," Ta Chan Securities Investment Consulting analyst Jerry Chen said.

"It was not surprising that the Taiex failed to maintain its earlier strength to end above 11,668 points as turnover remained moderate."

Prior to Monday's upturn, the Taiex had soared 1,882.23 points or 19.35 percent since the beginning of the year, largely on buying from foreign institutional investors.

On Friday, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$4.20 billion in shares on the market, according to the TWSE.

"The Taiex was largely boosted by the electronics sector today as TSMC continued to lead semiconductor stocks forward," said Chen, who noted that the electronics sector accounted for about 73 percent of the market's total turnover Monday.

After its American depositary receipts traded in the U.S. rose 0.99 percent Friday, TSMC rose 0.96 percent in Taiwan on Monday to close at NT$316.00, with 23.19 million shares changing hands.

TSMC's gains alone contributed to an increase of about 30 points in the Taiex and boosted the electronics sector by 0.80 percent.

The stock's strength spread to other semiconductor shares. Integrated circuit designer MediaTek Inc. rose 2.77 percent to end at NT$426.50 based on optimism over its 5G technology development.

Chen said select optoelectronics stocks also gained ground after having lagged behind the electronics sector and the overall market in recent weeks.

Among them, Largan rose 2.77 percent to close at NT$4,820.00. Flat panel maker AU Optronics Corp. rose 10 percent, the maximum daily increase, to end at NT$9.03, and rival Innolux Corp. added 6.49 percent to close at NT$8.04 on expectations of higher TV panel prices next year.

While the electronics sector was relatively strong, many old economy and financial stocks struggled throughout the day.

Among the falling old economy stocks, Formosa Plastics Corp. fell 0.51 percent to end at NT$96.70, Nan Ya Plastics Corp. dropped 0.42 percent to close at NT$70.90, Formosa Petrochemical Corp. lost 0.42 percent to end at NT$95.40, and Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. closed 0.23 percent lower at NT$86.50.

In the financial sector, CTBC Financial Holding Co. lost 0.23 percent to end at NT$21.85 and Fubon Financial Holding Co. closed unchanged at NT$45.40, while Cathay Financial Holding Co. rose 0.12 percent to end at NT$41.30.

"Market sentiment remained weakened by concerns over trade friction between the United States and China. Before they sign a phase-one trade deal, uncertainty is expected to limit market gains," Chen said.

(By Frances Huang)


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