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Local market ends flat, TSMC stays resilient

TAIPEI--Shares in Taiwan closed little changed Wednesday as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC,台積電), the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, lent some support to the broader market after Wall Street fell overnight, dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended down 4.04 points, or 0.04 percent, at 9,242.16, after moving between 9,229.80 and 9,255.87, on turnover of NT$85.79 billion (US$2.86 billion).

Major Electronics Stocks Rebound

Other major electronics stocks, such as smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. (大立光電) and Catcher Technology Co. (可成科技), staged technical rebounds from slumps a session earlier to further stabilize the market, they said.

The market opened up 3.93 points despite a 0.7 percent decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average overnight caused by rising tensions in the Middle East, and it traded within a narrow range for the rest of the session, dealers said.

"Compared with Wall Street's volatility, the local market appeared stable on the back of the gains posted by TSMC and other high-tech stocks," President Securities Vickie Hsieh said.

"The local market has consolidated in the past few sessions and downward pressure has been mostly digested. I think that's why Wall Street's sell-off failed to seriously affect local shares," Hsieh said.

Among the gaining electronics heavyweights, TSMC, the world's largest contract chip maker, rose 0.41 percent to close at NT$123.50 after Chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) said Tuesday that the chip maker's capacity would be fully utilized in the second half of the year.

Cather Gains 4.2 Percent

Catcher gained 4.20 percent to end at NT$273.00 on a technical rebound from Tuesday's 5.76 percent dive after several foreign brokerages provided optimistic forecasts of the Taiwanese metal casing maker's prospects.

The optimism of foreign institutional investors offset negative sentiment generated by speculation that Catcher had failed to obtain certification from Apple Inc. to produce casings for the next generation of iPhones, dealers said.

Largan, the most expensive stock in the local market, added 0.45 percent to close at NT$2,220.00, while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海精密), the world's largest contract electronics maker, fell 1.73 percent to end at NT$96.50 as investors locked in gains built in recent sessions.

"The financial sector also served as an anchor to prevent the broader market from falling further as the sector's relatively low valuations appeared attractive to many bargain hunters," Hsieh said.

In the financial sector, which closed up 0.16 percent in late-session buying, Fubon Financial Holding Co. (富邦金控) gained 1.42 percent to close at NT$42.85, and Taishin Financial Holding Co. (台新金控) added 0.66 percent to end at NT$15.35.

"My understanding is that foreign institutional investors are cutting back their long-position contracts in the futures market, which could have a somewhat adverse impact on the spot market over the next few sessions," Hsieh said.

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