TAIEX momentum continues, ends above 7,500


TAIPEI — Taiwan share prices made further gains yesterday to end the day above the 7,500-point mark as more and more investors returned to the trading floor to rebuild their portfolios after the Lunar New Year holiday, dealers said.

Interest rotated to the financial sector, which had lagged behind the bellwether electronics sector, while suppliers to Apple, Inc. continued to attract buying on high hopes that the U.S. consumer electronics giant will record higher profits after its better-than-expected results during the October-December period, they said.

The weighted index closed up 109.67 points, or 1.48 percent, at the day’s high of 7,517.08, off an early low of 7,421.01 on turnover of NT$160.54 billion (US$5.43 billion), compared with NT$143.90 billion recorded a session earlier.

The market opened up 0.37 percent on follow-through buying and momentum accelerated, in particular in late trade, to vault the index over the 7,500 point level, the dealers said.

Daily turnover further expanded as an increasing number of investors appeared willing to trade and even chase prices, they said.

“The higher daily volume showed that market sentiment has improved to some extent after the global financial markets such as Wall Street and European markets posted gains during the Lunar New Year holiday,” Mega Securities analyst Alex Huang said.

Huang said financial stocks outperformed the broader market since the sector played catch-up as a market laggard.

The financial sector scored the highest gains among the eight major stock categories, finishing up 3.8 percent, with E. Sun Financial and China Development Financial up 7 percent — the maximum daily increase — at NT$13.90 and NT$8.79, respectively.

“The financial sector appeared attractive in terms of valuations as investors shifted their attention to large-cap electronics to market bargains,” Huang said.

Among the high tech heavyweights, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. fell 0.25 percent to close at NT$78.50 and smartphone maker HTC lost 1.52 percent to end at NT$485.50.

However, Apple concept stocks were boosted by optimism over their earnings outlook on expectations that the U.S. firm will benefit from the launch of the iPad 3, which is expected in the first quarter, the dealers said.

Casing supplier Catcher Technology gained 2.79 percent to close at NT$184.00 and rival Foxconn Technology Co. rose 7 percent to end at NT$116.00.

“Investors had better keep alert over a possible technical pullback, as the market is faced with stiff technical resistance since surpassing the 7,500-point mark,” Huang said.

The paper and pulp sector rose 2.7 percent, the construction, and machinery and electronics sectors added 1.2 percent, plastics and chemicals gained 1.0 percent, textiles climbed 0.8 percent, foodstuffs grew 0.4 percent, and cement stocks closed up 0.1 percent.