Taiwan shares get boost from US jobs data as index closes above 7,700 points


TAIPEI — Taiwan share prices continued momentum to close above the 7,700-point mark Saturday as investors hailed a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report released Friday morning (U.S. time), which has eased concerns to some extent over the global economic slowdown, dealers said.

Financial stocks led the upside, following the moves of their U.S. counterparts on the jobs report lead, while many investors have embraced high hopes that the government will liberalize rules to allow Chinese investors to take more stakes in local financial institutions, they said. The weighted index closed up 66.25 points, or 0.86 percent, at 7,741.24, after moving between 7,727.29 and 7,787.89, on turnover of NT$146.14 billion (US$4.95 billion).

The market opened up 0.85 percent as investors took cues from rallies on Wall Street and in the European markets after Washington reported its January jobless rate at 8.3 percent, the lowest level since February 2009, dealers said.

The local bourse extended its gains to the day’s high, but profit taking set in to compromise as the index moved closer to 7,800 points, they said.

In the past six trading sessions, the main board rose 7.02 percent. The market opened Saturday to make up the reduced number of trading sessions for the just concluded Lunar New Year holiday.

“The market has been overheated after the latest buying spree and that’s why today’s gains were limited by profit-taking in late trade,” Grand Cathay Securities analyst Mars Hsu. “It is possible that more selling will emerge next week.”

However, Hsu said the market is expected to see some technical support at around 7,550 points due to ample liquidity if it encounters a pullback.

“Judging from the expanded turnover in recent sessions, I think more and more investors have become willing to trade and rebuild their portfolios,” Hsu said.

“It seems that market sentiment has improved due to recent improving global economic data,” he said. However, Hsu said investors had better keep alert over the ongoing earnings-reporting season with many high tech heavyweights due to release their fourth quarter results next week.

The financial scored the highest gains among the eight largest sectors of the market, finishing up 4 percent, with Chinatrust Financial and Chang Hwa Commercial Bank up 7 percent, the highest daily maximum increase, at NT$20.85 and NT$18.15, respectively.

Plastics and chemicals rose 1.1 percent, foodstuffs added 0.9 percent, cement and construction stocks gained 0.5 percent, paper and pulp shares grew 0.4 percent, machinery and electronics added 0.3 percent, while the textile sector closed unchanged.