Finance sector gains push shares to 11-month high


TAIPEI — Led by gains in the financial sector, shares in Taiwan rose to their highest level in nearly a year Monday before finishing a quarter of a percent higher.

The weighted index opened at 8,021.88 and closed up 23.58 points, or 0.29 percent, at 8,038.72, after moving between 8,089.21 and 8,001.85. Turnover was NT$94.03 billion (US$3.17 billion).

The index had not been as high since it hit 8,123.15 on March 19, 2012.

In all, 2,377 stocks closed up, 2,540 finished down, and 435 remained unchanged.

Financial stocks led the rally, building on their momentum from last Friday, as investors remained optimistic about growing cross-Taiwan Strait financial exchanges.

The market’s financial sub-index closed 0.7-percent higher.

Among large-cap financial services companies that posted the largest gains were Fubon Financial Holding Co., which closed up 2.33 percent at NT$44 (US$1.48), and Shin Kong Financial Holding Co., which rose 2.07 percent to finish at NT$9.84.

China Development Financial Holding Corp. benefited from large trading volume to close 1.67 percent higher at NT$9.14.

Electronics shares were relatively flat, but key touch panel players rose sharply as fears over Samsung’s new tie-up with Sharp were eased.

Investors worried that the Korean electronics giant, which agreed on March 6 to acquire a 3-percent stake in Sharp, would benefit from the Japanese group’s technology, putting Taiwan’s flat panel makers at a disadvantage.

But Innolux Corporation Chairman Tuan Hsing-chien said Sunday he did not think Samsung would gain access to Sharp’s technology and voiced optimism over the competitiveness of local flat panel makers.

Shares of Innolux Corp. and J Touch Corp. rose by the daily maximum of 7 percent to reach NT$18.35 and NT$31.65, respectively. AU Optronics Corp. closed up 4.89 percent at NT$13.95.

Alternative energy stocks, such as makers of LEDs and solar cells, also gained amid growing anti-nuclear sentiment in Taiwan and the region, but leading Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. struggled.

HTC shares fell 2.7 percent to close at NT$252.5 on news that its former vice president, Lotus Chen, jumped to rival Taiwanese technology firm AsusTek Computer Inc. in February to be one of its top technology executives.

The company was also hurt by worries over continuing camera lens and metal casing shortages for the latest version of its popular flagship phone, the HTC One.