Taiwan shares end at 17-year high; TSMC market cap hits record level

From : China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Shares in Taiwan closed at a 17-year high on Friday with the bellwether electronics sector continuing its momentum as local investors took their cue from record highs posted by three major indexes on Wall Street overnight, dealers said.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電), the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, led the electronics sector higher after its shares rose to record levels, boosting market capitalization on the back of foreign institutional buying, they said.

However, turnover remained moderate with many investors remaining on the sidelines, waiting for the release of U.S. jobs data later in the day, they added.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) closed up 65.11 points, or 0.65 percent, to end at a day's high of 10,152.53, off a low of 10,117.06, on turnover of NT$86.29 billion (US$2.87 billion). The closing level was the highest since April 5, 2000, when the index ended at 10,186.17 points.

The market opened up 0.30 percent in response to a higher Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 index and tech-heavy NASDAQ index hit records high overnight due to a better- than-expected payroll report in the U.S. private sector, dealers said.

Momentum accelerated to push the index up further with "Apple concept stocks," including TSMC, in focus amid hopes that the next generation of iPhones, which is scheduled to hit the market in the second half of this year, will boost the bottom line, they said.

"Due to the gains posted by Wall Street, foreign investors developed an appetite to take more risk outside the U.S. market. I think that foreign institutional investors remained on the buy side today to pick up large cap stocks," Ta Ching Securities analyst Andy Hsu said.

According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$4.28 billion worth of shares on the main board on Friday after net purchases of NT$2.57 billion on Thursday.

"The main board is on an upswing trend to challenge the nearest technical resistance at around 10,200 points," Hsu said. "It is possible that foreign investors will continue to pump funds into the region to lead local shares higher." TSMC, the world's largest contract chip maker, which is believed to supply the A11 processor for iPhone production, gained 0.97 percent to close at NT$209.00, with 22.57 million shares changing hands. Due to the upturn, TSMC's market cap stood at NT$5.41 trillion, the highest of any company listed on the local equity market.

Also in the electronics sector, which ended up 0.88 percent, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海), an assembler of iPhones and iPads, gained 0.96 percent to close at NT$105.50, and Largan Precision Co. (大立光), a smartphone camera lens supplier to Apple, added 2.76 percent to end at NT$4,845.00 and remain the most expensive stock in Taiwan.

Buying spread to old economy stocks with shares in Eclat Textile Co. (儒鴻) up 3.99 percent to close at NT$326.00 and Asia Cement Corp. (亞泥) 1.09 percent higher to end at NT$27.75. In the financial sector, Mega Financial Holding Co. (兆豐金) rose 0.62 percent to close at NT$24.40.