Local bourse reverses losses on cross-strait optimism

The China Post news staff and CNA

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Shares in Taiwan reversed the earlier losses to end higher yesterday as bargain hunters picked up financial stocks on hopes that newly unveiled cross-Taiwan Strait investment plans will boost profitability, dealers said.

Buying also focused on the construction sector, which had been a market laggard, while the high-tech sector underperformed, led by semiconductor stocks, amid concerns over slow-season effects in the first quarter, dealers said.

The weighted index closed up 17.04 points, or 0.21 percent, at the day’s high of 7,850.02, recovering from an early low of 7,800.90, on turnover of NT$77.13 billion. The market opened 0.11 points lower and moved to the day’s low as market sentiment was hurt by an unexpected contraction of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of last year, dealers said.

However, bargain hunting emerged to lift shares, in particular in the financial and construction sector, helping the broader market to recoup its losses by the end of the session, dealers said. Hots for Financial Shares Foreign institutional investors yesterday expressed upbeat sentiment for Taiwan’s financial shares, which they said may be targeted by Chinese investors. During a forum earlier this week, Taiwan’s financial regulators raised the quota for investment by Chinese qualified domestic institutional investors from US$500 million to US$1 billion. The move is set to benefit Taiwan’s financial shares, said Credit Suisse, which recommended Fubon Financial, E.Sun Financial and China Life.