Taiwan shares end little changed, recovering early losses

Taipei-Shares in Taiwan closed little changed Tuesday as late-session buying gave a boost to select large-cap stocks, in particular contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which helped the broader market recoup most of its earlier losses, dealers said.

While the main board still ended above the 10,900-point mark, turnover was reduced, with many investors staying on the sidelines ahead of an investor conference scheduled by Largan Precision Co., a smartphone camera supplier to Apple Inc., for more clues about shipments of the premium iPhone X, the dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed down 0.86 points, or 0.01 percent, at 10,914.89, after moving between 10,860.77 and 10,931.00, on turnover of NT$129.95 billion (US$4.4 billion).

The market opened up 6.60 points and rose to the day's high in the early morning session on follow-through buying, but selling set in at around 9:30 a.m. to push down the weighted index into negative territory for the rest of the session, the dealers said.

However, buying emerged in the late trading session, focusing on TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, as well as certain petrochemical stocks, capping the downturn on the broader market by the end of the session, they said.

"Before today, the main board had gained for eight sessions in a row, so it was time for local equities to take a breather for the moment," Mega International Investment Services Corp. analyst Alex Huang said.

Ahead of Tuesday's small drop, the weighted index had gained 493.84 points, or 4.74 percent, over the previous eight sessions.

"Fortunately, the local equity market remained awash in liquidity, so that the weighted index was able to recover from its low by the end of the session," Huang said. "Especially, large-cap stocks such as TSMC attracted last-ditch buying to stabilize the broader market."

TSMC closed unchanged at the day's high of NT$240.00 after hitting a low of NT$239.50, with 19.01 million shares changing hands. Led by TSMC, the bellwether electronics sub-index ended at 451.83 points, off a low of 450.06.

Other major electronics stocks, in particular large Apple suppliers, remained sluggish throughout the session amid lingering concerns over global iPhone X sales, Huang said.

Among them, Largan continued to come under heavy pressure, falling 4.71 percent to close at NT$3,745.00 after a 4.15 percent drop a day earlier. The stock suffered selling after it reported disappointing sales for December, which made investors wary of how the iPhone X has been received by the global market.

In addition, iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., second to TSMC in terms of market value, ended unchanged at the day's low of NT$91.80.

In the petrochemical sector, which was boosted by higher international crude oil prices, Nan Ya Plastics Corp. added 2.77 percent to close at NT$81.70, Formosa Plastics Corp. rose 3.02 percent to end at NT$102.50, and Formosa Chemicals and Fibre Corp. gained 4.27 percent to close at NT$110.00.

"Before Largan's investor conference (scheduled for Thursday), I expect a consolidation theme will continue to dictate the broader market," Huang said. "But ample liquidity is likely to keep lending support to the main board."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel