Market down on concern over GDP growth

By Sandra Chuang, The China Post

The stock market yesterday edged lower with market sentiment undermined by concerns over mainland China’s military exercises, and a possible cut in the GDP growth for the first quarter. The market fell 56.71 points to close at 5,170.08, while the daily turnover shrank from Thursday’s NT$74.4 billion to NT$56.1 billion. The index slipped 20.56 points at the opening but rebounded slightly before another round of selling pressure emerged. As investors were concerned about reports that the first quarter’s GDP growth will be below 2 percent and mainland China is planning military exercises in the South China Sea, the index stayed below 5,200 points for the rest of the session. Some dealers said the market operation yesterday was apparently curbed by government support. “The market might have lost much more without the government’s action,” said one dealer. “The government will take measures to support the market, especially while President Chen Shui-bian is on his visit to Latin America,” said a dealer. Technology shares generally moved downward. However, motherboard manufacturer Asustek Computer got a boost from active foreign buying, adding 3.1 percent to close at NT$166. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp.(TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) ended almost unchanged on suspected government buying of the shares. TSMC added 0.5 percent to close at NT$94.5 while UMC fell 0.9 percent to stand at NT$52.5. Financial shares were also lower on concerns over mainland China’s war games and the slow GDP growth.