Taiwan shares edge down on profit taking

Taipei--Shares in Taiwan closed slightly lower on Thursday as investors locked in earlier gains, with the weighted index briefly passing 9,800 points -- the nearest focus for stiff technical resistance, dealers said. While the non-high tech sector encountered relatively heavy downward pressure which weighed on the broader market, shares in select electronics heavyweights, such as smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. (???) remained in positive territory, preventing the weighted index from falling further, they said.   The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended the day down 9.47 points, or 0.1 percent, at 9,769.31, after moving between 9,748.94 and 9,810.56, on turnover of NT$98.98 billion (US$3.22 billion). The market opened down 4.7 points, but soon regained its footing to move higher and challenge 9,800 points on follow-through buying from the previous session, dealers said. However, once the index passed 9,800 points and rose to a high for the day, selling set in around 10 a.m. to push down the broader market, with old economy and financial stocks in focus, they said, though shares in Largan posted gains throughout the session. "Many investors turned cautious as the weighted index breached 9,800 points, where high technical hurdles have been," Mega International Investment Services Corp. analyst Alex Huang said. "It is understandable that investors are reluctant to chase prices for the moment." "Moreover, many local retail investors have worries that foreign institutional investors are less aggressively buying local equities so they preferred to pocket their gains and keep the money now," he added. Huang said the old economy and financial sectors pushed the broader market lower, with profit-taking selling emerging in the mid-morning session as investors took their cue from a mixed day on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.16 percent, but the S&P 500 index ended down 0.11 percent overnight. Among falling old economy stocks, shares in China Steel Structure Corp. (???) lost 1.72 percent to close at NT$22.90, Formosa Chemicals & Fiber Corp. (??) fell 1.02 percent to end at NT$97.50 and food maker Uni-President Enterprise Corp. (??) dropped 0.55 percent to close at NT$54.50. In the financial sector, which ended down 0.48 percent, shares in Cathay Financial Holding Co. (???) lost 0.41 percent to close at NT$48.60, Fubon Financial Holding Co. (???) fell 0.70 percent to end at NT$49.85 and Yuanta Financial Holding Co. (???) closed at NT$12.80, down 1.54 percent. "The silver lining was that select high-tech firms, in particular Largan, continued to post gains, while buying rotated to the PC sector," Huang said. Shares in Largan, a smartphone camera lens supplier to Apple Inc., rose 1.39 percent to close at NT$4,745.00 and remained the most expensive stock on the local market amid optimism over the company's bottom line at a time when more and more international brands have adopted dual lens cameras. Among PC stocks, shares in Asustek Computer Inc. (??) rose 1.64 percent to close at NT$279.00 and Quanta Computer Inc. (??) added 3.07 percent to end at NT$63.80. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (???), the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, closed unchanged at NT$188.50, off an early low of NT$187.00 after the last session buying, with 35.73 million shares changing hands. Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel