Taiwan shares end up, led by semiconductor stocks

Taipei, April 11 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan closed higher Wednesday, with buying focused on the local integrated circuit sector as investors took cues from a rally staged by U.S. semiconductor stocks overnight, dealers said.

The gains posted by the local main board also reflected reduced concern over a trade war between the United States and China after Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country will come up with market- opening measures that are being perceived as a conciliatory move to reduce tension between the two economic giants, the dealers said.

The main board came off its early high and failed to stand above the 11,000-point mark at the end of the session due to stiff technical resistance ahead of that level, they added.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, or Taiex, was up 46.84 points, or 0.43 percent, at 10,974.02, after moving between 10,953.31 and 11,016.35, on turnover of NT$128.85 billion (US$4.41 billion).

The market opened up 0.31 percent and rose further to briefly breach the 11,000-point level as buying was sparked by a strong Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.79 percent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ index ended up 2.07 percent as market sentiment was boosted by Xi's market-opening remarks, the dealers said.

The local semiconductor sector, in particular, attracted strong buying to lead the broader market higher, as investors were moved by a 3.02-percent increase posted by the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, but some profit-taking set in to cap the upturn by the end of the session, they said.

"Wall Street, again, dictated the mood of investors in Taiwan after Xi's comments," Mega International Investment Services Corp. analyst Alex Huang said. "But it seems the willingness to chase share prices was limited, as many investors preferred to stay on the sidelines, watching how the two largest economies will eventually solve their problems."

According to Xi, China is set to further open its economy, with measures including lowering import tariffs on cars, protecting the legal intellectual property of foreign groups and reducing duties on other consumer products.

"Turnover remained moderate, making it difficult for the Taiex to jump over the technical hurdles ahead of the 11,000-point mark," Huang said.

Thanks to the gains posted by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, the local semiconductor sub-index closed up 0.81 percent to push up the broader market, Huang said.

TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, rose 1.02 percent to close at NT$248.00 after hitting NT$248.50, with 21.58 million shares changing hands, after the company reported a day earlier that its March sales hit the highest monthly level in its history.

Also in the semiconductor sector, United Microelectronics Corp., TSMC's smaller rival, added 0.65 percent to close at NT$15.40, off an early high of NT$15.60, and IC designer MediaTek Inc. gained 3.67 percent to close at NT$339.00, off a high of NT$343.00.

Bucking the upturn, Largan Precision Co., a smartphone camera lenses supplier to Apple Inc., fell 0.62 percent to end at NT$3,230.00 after hitting NT$3,350.00.

In the financial sector, which closed up 0.37 percent to lend additional support to the Taiex, E. Sun Financial Holding Co. rose 1.01 percent to end at NT$20.00, and Cathay Financial Holding Co. gained 0.57 percent to close at NT$53.30.

"Judging from today's movement, I think many investors are still watching whether and when foreign institutional investors will resume aggressive buying in local equities," Huang said.

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors have sold a net NT$11 billion-worth of shares on the main board since the beginning of this month after a net sell of NT$830 million on Wednesday.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel