Taiwan shares tumble 238 points but remain above 9,500 points

Taipei, Oct. 25 (CNA)-Taiwan shares plunged more than 238 points Thursday but held above the 9,500-point mark, following a dive on Wall Street overnight.

The main index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (Taiex) opened down 136.45 points at 9,622.95 and fell more than 270 points within a minute to 9,475.61, the lowest level in 20 months, as investors reacted to a steep drop on United States’ markets.

The Taiex closed down 238.61 points, or 2.44 percent, at 9,520.79 on turnover of NT$131.18 billion (US$4.24 billion).

Except for the foodstuff sector, all the major stock categories lost ground, with the electronics index falling 3.34 percent and the financial sector 1.76 percent.

In the bellwether electronics sector, smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. plunged more than 4 percent to a low of NT$3,210.00 shortly after the market opened but quickly recovered to some extent as bargain hunting emerged. Shares in the company ended 2.81 percent lower at NT$3,290.00.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which supplies the main processor for Apple’s iPhones, closed down 4.36 percent at NT$219.50.

Among the passive component stocks, Yageo Corp. shed 9.6 percent to close at NT$315.50, while Walsin Technology Corp. dropped 9.82 percent to end at NT$128.50 and Holy Stone Enterprise Co., Ltd. finished down 7.3 percent at NT$92.70.

In the financial sector, Fubon Financial Holding Co. lost 2.34 percent to close at NT$48.00, Cathay Financial Holding fell 2.11 percent to NT$48.70., Mega Financial Holding Co. dropped 1.73 percent to end at NT$25.55 and CTBC Financial Holding Co. finished 2.45 percent lower at NT$19.90.

According to Taipei-based Cathay Futures Consultant, shares in Taiwan are expected to remain under downward pressure amid concerns over a fund exodus as the Taiwan dollar continues to weaken against the U.S. dollar.

Foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$9.37 billion worth of shares Thursday, according to Taiex data.

Commenting on the weakness of the local equity market, Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯.尤達卡) said Thursday that it has been affected by the U.S. markets but is likely to return to 10,000 points given Taiwan’s solid economic fundamentals.

Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) has been closely monitoring the daily fluctuations in Taiwan’s stock and foreign exchange markets, she said.