Taiwan shares edge higher on thin turnover

Taipei, Shares in Taiwan moved slightly higher to close above the 10,800-point mark Wednesday as buying in non-high-tech stocks offset selling in select electronics heavyweights, dealers said.

Despite the gains in the weighted index, turnover fell to below NT$100 billion (US$3.26 billion) as market sentiment turned cautious ahead of talks scheduled by the United States and China for later this week, they said.

Many investors were also waiting for the release later Wednesday of the minutes of the policymaking meeting held at the beginning of August by the U.S. Federal Reserve to gain more insight into whether U.S. interest rates could be raised in the future, dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended up 12.00 points, or 0.11 percent, at 10,804.20, after moving between 10,774.69 and 10,828.21, on turnover of NT$97.39 billion (US$3.17 billion).

The market opened down 1.96 points on a minor technical correction after an increase of 0.87 percent a session earlier, and fluctuated in a narrow range for the rest of the session, dealers said.

"It was a quiet session as turnover fell amid caution over the trade dispute between the U.S. and China," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said.

"Despite yesterday's upturn, many investors simply sat idle."

U.S. President Donald Trump said in an interview with Reuters that he did not expect much progress from the trade talks with China as delegations from the two sides prepare to meet this week to try to solve their problems.

According to Su, Wednesday's turnover fell well below the average of NT$119 billion in the previous five sessions and the average of NT$128.1 billion in the previous 10 sessions.

"Such a low trading volume made a breakthrough unlikely ahead of the strong technical resistance at around 10,900 points anytime soon," Su said.

Tuesday's gains prompted investors to pocket profits enjoyed by major tech stocks throughout the Wednesday session, Su said.

Among the falling tech stocks, Largan Precision Co., a supplier of smartphone camera lenses to Apple Inc., fell 4.47 percent to close at the day's low of NT$4,490.00, and contract chipmaker United Microelectronics Corp. shed 2.78 percent to end at NT$17.50.

Catcher Technology Co., which supplies metal casings to Apple, lost 1.77 percent to close at NT$360.00.

"Fortunately, TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.) appeared resilient and attracted late session buying to give support to the bellwether electronics sector as well as the broader market," Su said.

TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, rose 0.41 percent to close at NT$240.00, while iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., second to TSMC in terms of market value, gained 0.86 percent to end at NT$81.70.

Buying generally rotated to non-high-tech stocks, in particular in the textile, petrochemical and financial sectors, dealers said.

Among the rising old economy stocks, textile company Far Eastern New Century Corp. gained 3.38 percent to close at NT$35.20 on higher product prices.

Formosa Plastics Corp. and Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp., which got a boost from a rebound in crude prices overnight, added 0.92 percent and 0.84 percent, respectively, to close at NT$110.00 and NT$120.00.

In the financial sector, which closed up 0.36 percent, Yuanta Financial Holding Co. rose 1.64 percent to end at NT$15.50, and Cathay Financial Holding Co. added 0.39 percent to close at NT$52.10.

"Investors should watch for the upcoming release of the Fed's meeting minutes to figure out how the U.S. central bank will adjust its monetary policy," Su said.

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors sold NT$1.65 billion in shares on the exchange Wednesday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel