Taiwan shares end higher as tech stocks rebound
Taipei, March 29 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan moved higher Wednesday as the bellwether electronics sector bounced back from losses in the previous two sessions, and stocks in the tourism and biotech sectors also did well, dealers said.
The upturn was capped, however, after the Taiex, the Taiwan Stock Exchange's benchmark weighted index, briefly breached the five-day moving average of 15,811 points.
Turnover was also thin as many investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the upcoming five-day Tomb Sweeping Festival holiday starting Saturday, dealers said.
The Taiex ended up 68.28 points, or 0.43 percent, at 15,769.76 after fluctuating between 15,681.10 and 15,811.20. Turnover totaled NT$193.68 billion (US$6.38 billion).
The market opened up 0.41 percent, and the momentum continued on buying in large cap electronic stocks despite a 0.12 percent fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a 0.45 percent fall in the tech-heavy Nasdaq index overnight, dealers said.
After the Taiex hit the day's high, some investors started to sell, dragging down the Taiex into negative territory at one point.
Buying then reemerged, with investors picking up tech heavyweights, including contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), to push the Taiex back into positive territory by the end of the session, dealers said.
TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, rose 0.95 percent to close at NT$530.00. The stock's gains contributed about 42 points to the Taiex's rise and helped the electronics sector and the semiconductor sub-index rise 0.44 percent and 0.53 percent.
"While the electronics sector moved higher, its upturn was limited as investors were worried about weakening global demand for tech gadgets," Mega International Investment Services Corp. analyst Alex Huang said.
"There were also worries about the tech sector worldwide because of the ongoing cycle of interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve. U.S. treasury yields spiked Tuesday, signaling those fears and sending tech stocks there lower," Huang said.
Among other semiconductor stocks in Taiwan, MediaTek Inc. rose 0.91 percent to end at NT$773.00, and IC packaging and testing services provider ASE Technology Holding Co. gained 1.83 percent to close at NT$111.50.
Bucking the upturn, another contract chipmaker, United Microelectronics Corp., lost 1.34 percent to end at NT$51.50, and rival Powership Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. fell 0.45 percent to close at NT$32.95.
DRAM chip supplier Nanya Technology Corp. shed 2.40 percent to end at NT$61.00 after U.S. counterpart Micron Technology Inc. reported disappointing results for its fiscal second quarter overnight.
Also in the electronics sector, iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. rose 0.49 percent to close at NT$103.50, while power management solution provider Delta Electronics Inc. lost 1.01 percent to end at NT$295.50.
"Local investors appeared willing to buy," Huang said. "Today, tourism and biotech stocks drew attention from local investors but these stocks' small weighting failed to give a significant boost to the Taiex."
The tourism industry rose 2.78 percent as FarGlory Hotel Co. soared 4.09 percent to close at NT$35.65, Chateau International Development Co. rose 3.18 percent to end at NT$146.00, and Formosa International Hotels Corp. rose 2.57 percent to close at NT$279.00.
In addition, chain restaurant operator Wowprime Corp. surged 7.14 percent to end at NT$322.50.
The biotech sector rose 1.75 percent, with drug brand Chunghwa Chemical Synthesis & Biotech Co. up 7.89 percent to close at NT$82.00, and test kit supplier Panion & BF Biotech Inc. up 5.12 percent to end at NT$174.50.
Supplements maker Grape King Bio Ltd. closed 2.85 percent higher at NT$180.50, and intra-articular injection maker Maxigen Biotech Inc. finished 2.75 percent at NT$56.00.
In the financial sector, which rebounded by 0.52 percent, Cathay Financial Holding Co. rose 0.72 percent to close at NT$41.85, and Fubon Financial Holding Co. gained 0.71 percent to end at NT$56.90.
"Before the upcoming long holiday, the market is expected to continue to move in a narrow range as investors worry about negative leads emerging overseas. Technical support is expected at 15,642 points," Huang said.
According to the Taiwan Stock Exchange, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$9.18 billion in shares Wednesday.
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