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Local market little changed as investors pocket earlier gains

TAIPEI -- Shares in Taiwan closed little changed Friday after investors locked in earlier gains to erode the uptrend at the end of the session, dealers said.

Market sentiment turned cautious after lawmakers in Ukraine's Crimea region urged the holding of a referendum on whether to return the region to Russian control, the dealers said.

Many investors also preferred to keep more cash on hand to avoid possible losses ahead of the release of U.S. February nonfarm payroll data later in the day, they added.

Select large-cap electronics stocks continued to move higher, which lent some support to the broader market and kept the index from falling into negative territory at the close, the dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended up 0.17 points at 8,713.96, after moving between 8,698.60 and 8,787.62, on turnover of NT$129.93 billion (US$4.29 billion).

The market opened up 0.47 percent and rose to the day's high in the wake of a rise on Wall Street overnight, but as the index moved closer to the nearest stiff technical resistance level ahead of 8,800 points, profit taking set in to eat away most of the earlier gains, the dealers said.

Downward pressure seen across the board became visible in late morning trade and continued into the end of the session, they said.

"After yesterday's strong showing, it was time for the local market to take a pause," Hua Nan Securities analyst Stan Chang said, adding that "the market needs more time to digest pressure before 8,800 points."

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