TAIPEI (CNA) — Shares in Taiwan closed slightly higher Wednesday as investors hunted bargains to help the main board recoup its earlier losses of more than 100 points caused by a plunge in U.S. markets overnight, dealers said.
Bargain hunting focused on large-cap stocks across the board to push up the market over the nearest technical hurdle ahead of 10,300 points by the end of the session to end at almost the day’s high, the dealers said.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE), or Taiex, closed up 19.32 points, or 0.19 percent, at 10,307.74, after moving between 10,140.09 and 10,310.85 Wednesday on turnover of NT$151.80 billion (US$5.04 billion).
The market opened down 0.31 percent and soon moved to the day’s low as investors took cues from a 2.67 percent tumble on the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the wake of continued weakness in the global energy market, the dealers said.
With the Taiex moving closer to 10,100 points, buying emerged to push up the broader market back into positive territory at the end of the session, they said.
“Other several regional markets recovered from their earlier losses, so investors here felt relieved and started to buy, in particular after the Taiex fell closer to 10,100 points,” Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said, referring to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul.
“It seems that a plunge in crude oil prices has been factored into the market for the moment,” Su said.
Su said bargain hunters focused on market heavyweights in a bid to boost the index as a whole. “I suspect government-end funds stood behind the buy side to reinforce investors’ confidence.”
Among the stocks bargain hunters favored in the tech sector, iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. rose 0.54 percent to close at NT$73.90, off a low of NT$72.50, and Yageo Corp., a major maker of multi-layer ceramic capacitors, gained 5.52 percent to end at NT$344.00 after hitting a low of NT$321.50.
Contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, fell 0.34 percent to close at NT$294.00, off a low of NT$290.50, and Largan Precision Co., a supplier of smartphone camera lenses to Apple Inc., lost 0.54 percent to end at NT$3,680.00 after hitting NT$3,620.00.
Also on the back of active bargain hunters, Chunghwa Telecom Co. came off an earlier low of NT$107.50 to close at NT$109.00.
Bargain hunting was also seen in the financial sector, Cathay Financial Holding Co. rose 0.54 percent to close at NT$37.20 and Fubon Financial Holding Co. added 1.15 percent to end at NT$39.45.
Su said that select petrochemical stocks climbed out of earlier doldrums despite falling crude prices, with Formosa Plastics Corp. up 0.12 percent to close at NT$80.20 and Formosa Petrochemical Corp. up 0.63 percent to end at NT$80.00.
“I prefer to say that today’s gains were technical in nature. Further volatility is possible amid concerns over the global economy,” Su said. “Watch crude prices closely.”
According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$3.45 billion-worth of shares on the main board Wednesday.