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Local market ends day lower shaken by worries over China trade accord

TAIPEI -- Shares in Taiwan closed lower Friday as market sentiment remained haunted by lingering concerns over the fate of a trade-in-services agreement with China, dealers said.

Old economy stocks suffered fairly heavy downward pressure while certain large-cap electronics stocks, particularly in the semiconductor sector, appeared resilient to prevent the broader market from falling further, they added.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed down 20.16 points or 0.23 percent at 8,577.17, after moving between 8,562.57 and 8,642.82 on turnover of NT$94.52 billion (US$3.09 billion).

The market opened up 0.53 percent at the day's high as investors took cues from a technical rebound on Wall Street overnight, dealers said.

However, selling emerged quickly after to push the index down to negative territory by closing as investors rushed to lock in gains amid fears of further losses as protesters continued to occupy Taiwan's Legislature in opposition to the cross-strait service trade pact.

“Many investors were afraid that if protests against the trade agreement with China prolong their activity, the local market could see its downturn extended. For the moment, they were just trying to keep as much cash as possible,” President Securities analyst Vickie Hsieh said.

On Tuesday night, protesters stormed the Legislative Yuan and began occupying the legislative chamber, demanding that lawmakers review the trade agreement with China item by item before voting on it and calling for direct dialogue with President Ma Ying-jeou.

The occupation continued Friday with no signs of abating as demonstrators said they will accelerate their protests if their demands are not met.

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