Taiwan stock futures index hits milestone


TAIPEI — The Taiwan stock futures index touched the 10,000-point mark for the first time in 15 years at one point Friday before pulling back, but it still ended above its previous close.

The futures index’s previous high was 10,181, the closing level recorded on April 11, 2000.

According to the Taiwan Futures Exchange, the stock futures index closed up 82 points from a day earlier at 9,920 on trading volume of 205,630 contracts Friday, after moving between 9,860 and 10,000, at a time when the regular stock market was awash in liquidity.

The stock futures index uses the Taiwan stock exchange’s benchmark index �X the Taiwan Stock Exchange Capitalization Weighted Stock Index (Taiex) �X as its underlying index.

Analysts see the futures market as a barometer of the regular stock market, and the momentary breach of the 10,000-point mark encouraged many investors who hoped the spot market will soon follow suit.

On Friday, the Taiex closed up 1.18 percent at 9,913.28, after moving between 9,839.71 and 9,961.31, on expanded turnover of NT$164.65 billion (US$5.31 billion) as investors rushed to pick up electronics stocks, in particular in the semiconductor sector.

Analysts said Taiwan’s central bank is working with the Financial Supervisory Commission to curb speculation by foreign institutional investors in the local foreign exchange market, and those investors are moving their funds in Taiwan into equity markets as a result.

They were also buying aggressively in the spot market to push up value of their large holdings of long position futures contracts, of which they held more than a net 10,000 as of Thursday, analysts said.

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$46.48 billion in local shares on the main board Friday after a net buy of NT$22.33 billion on Thursday.

With foreign investors still holding large long-position contracts in the futures market, local institutional and retail investors are expected to follow suit in raising their long position holdings, which could push up share prices in the spot market, analysts said.