Taiwan shares soar over 100 points ahead of TSMC conference

Taipei, Taiwan shares moved sharply higher, gaining more than 100 points in the Thursday morning session ahead of an investor conference scheduled by contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) for later in the day, dealers said.

Many investors have high hopes that TSMC will give good sales guidance for the second quarter of this year in the investor conference, which has been watched closely, and this optimism boosted the stock, as well as the broader market, with the weighted index breaching the 10,900-point mark, the dealers said.

As of 12:27 p.m., the weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange had risen 108.50 points, or 1.00 percent, to 10,956.39, on turnover of NT$119.52 billion (US$4.07 billion), as investors ignored a lackluster Wall Street overnight, the dealers said.

"Market attention has been focused on TSMC's upcoming investor conference this afternoon," MasterLink Securities analyst Tom Tang said.

"The strong buying in TSMC shares showed investor optimism that the chipmaker will deliver good news for the second quarter, as its chairman-designate, Mark Liu (???), will preside over the conference," Tang said.

TSMC Chairman Morris Chang (???) is scheduled to retire in June after a shareholder meeting that voted for the nomination of Liu, who is currently the president and the co-chief executive officer of the company.

Soon after the local equity market opened, TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, attracted strong buying and its momentum continued. TMSC shares had gained 2.52 percent to NT$244.00, with 23.12 million shares changing hands as of 12:27 p.m. Led by TSMC, the benchmark electronics sector was up 1.36 percent, and the semiconductor sub-index was 2.22 percent higher.

Among other tech stocks, PC brand Acer Inc. had risen 2.27 percent to NT$23.60, while iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., second to TSMC in terms of market value, had lagged behind the broader market, up only 0.24 percent at NT$85.00.

Tang said select old economy stocks, in particular in the cement and food sectors, also gained footing on bargain hunting to push up the Taiex even higher for the session.

In the old economy sector, Taiwan Cement Corp. had risen 1.57 percent to NT$38.80, Asian Cement Corp. had gained 3.08 percent to NT$30.10, and food brand Uni-President Enterprises Corp. had added 2.81 percent to NT$73.20.

"Judging from the significant gains posted by these heavy stocks, I think foreign institutional investors stood on the buy side," Tang said. "In addition, market speculation showed that government-led funds had entered the market, boosting the Taiex ahead of President Tsai Ing-wen's (???) second anniversary in office on May 20."

Tang said turnover is expected to expand to more than NT$160 billion Thursday on the back of solid buying by institutional investors.

"That is why the Taiex jumped over the 10,900-point mark, making the main board technically healthier," Tang said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel