Local bourse finishes higher but thin trade keeps cap on profits


TAIPEI — Early gains on foreign stock markets led shares in Taiwan to open higher Monday, but thin trading volume limited the benchmark index’s rise. The weighted index opened at 7,862.58 and moved between 7,877.05 and 7,854.47 before closing up 59.9 points, or 0.76 percent, at 7,856.12. Turnover was NT$59.08 billion (US$1.98 billion). In all, 2,559 stocks closed up, 2,096 finished down and 445 remained unchanged. David Chu, chairman of Hua Nan Securities Co., said the TAIEX closed higher on growth in the U.S. market and early gains of more than 1 percent in Japan and South Korea, but the meager trading volume indicated an underlying lack of confidence among investors. The electronics sub-index outperformed the broader market, rising 0.86 percent with the help of advances by leading flat panel suppliers. Two of Taiwan’s largest display makers, Innolux Corp. and AU Optronics Corp., both closed up around 5 percent at NT$19 and NT$13.15, respectively, on stronger demand from China ahead of its week long Labor Day holiday that begins on May 1. To grow further, however, the electronics sector will need to see more orders from China in April ahead of the holiday, Chu said. Stocks related to energy-saving products may also benefit in the near term because of the ongoing heated debate over the future of nuclear power in Taiwan, which may lead to greater energy conservation and more reliance on alternative energy sources, Chu said. The financial sub-index also performed well Monday, rising 1.35 percent on speculation of possible mergers between government-invested banks. Hua Nan Securities closed up 1.48 percent at NT$17.15, and Mega Securities finished 1.67 percent higher at NT$24.35. Shares of Chang Hwa Commercial Bank closed up 2.92 percent at NT$17.60. US Dollar Closes Lower The U.S. dollar closed lower against the Taiwan dollar Monday, losing NT$0.02 to close at NT$29.889.

Turnover totaled US$608 million during the trading session.

The U.S. unit opened at the day’s high of NT$29.910 and reached a low of NT$29.760 before the close.