Taiwan shares end moderately higher

Taipei-Shares in Taiwan closed moderately higher on Tuesday as select large-cap stocks, in particular in the electronics and financial sectors, received boosts late in the session, helping the broader market recoup early losses, dealers said.

Investors were generally cautious as they looked ahead to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.'s (TSMC) investor conference on Thursday, keeping trading within a narrow range, they said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, the Taiex, ended up 29.80 points, or 0.27 percent, at the day's high of 10,986.11, after hitting a low of 10,920.50, on turnover of NT$130.72 billion (US$4.42 billion).

The final tally was the highest since April 3, 1990, when the Taiex closed at 11,119.00.

The market opened down 0.50 points and moved to the day's low after the first half hour of trading on a lack of fresh leads from Wall Street, which was closed on Monday for a public holiday.

It then showed a small but steady rebound and spiked late in the session, with market heavyweights such as TSMC, iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Fubon Financial Holdings all drawing interest, they said.

"After recent significant gains, the weighted index is approaching the 11,000-point mark, where there's stiff technical resistance," Mega International Investment Services Corp. analyst Alex Huang said.

Before Tuesday's 0.27 percent rise in the weighted index, the Taiex had gained 313.45 points, or 2.95 percent, since the beginning of this year.

"So it was not surprising that the main board fell into consolidation mode today," Huang said. "In particular, many investors were cautious before TSMC releases its fourth quarter results and gives its first quarter sales guidance later this week."

Backed by last-ditch buying, TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, rose 0.21 percent to close at NT$240.00, off an early low of NT$238.00, with 21.67 million shares changing hands.

Also in the bellwether electronics sector, which ended up 0.42 percent, Hon Hai gained 0.11 percent to close at NT$93.40, and Largan Precision Co., which supplies smartphone camera lenses to Apple Inc., fell 0.74 percent to end at NT$4,000, off a low of NT$3,955.

Huang said the financial sector benefited from an improvement in its bottom line in 2017 as well as high hopes that a rate hike cycle by major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, will push up returns on their overseas investments in the future.

In the financial sector, which ended up 0.23 percent, Fubon Financial rose 1.29 percent to close at NT$54.80, Cathay Financial Holding Co. added 0.18 percent to end at NT$56.60, and Chang Hwa Commercial Bank gained 0.58 percent to close at NT$17.30.

"Investors are watching closely whether foreign institutional investors will continue to pour their funds into the local equity market," Huang said.

"In addition, overcoming the technical hurdles ahead of 11,000 points will depend on how the electronics sector performs, so TSMC's comments on its operations on Thursday will be very important."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel