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Local market posts highest mark in 31 months

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan shares closed in the positive territory for the fourth consecutive session Thursday to reach a high point of over two and a half years.

The main weighted index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed up 42.30 points, or 0.48 percent, at 8,779.57, on turnover of NT$96.56 billion (US$3.16 billion), after moving between 8,723.82 and 8,780.42.

The close is the highest since July 28, 2011 and almost as much as this year's intra-session high of 8,787, which was reached March 7.

The benchmark index has risen 202.4 points this week, following the loss last week of 154 points as protesters against the trade-in-services agreement with China stormed Taiwan's Legislative Yuan and began occupying its main chamber.

Tire manufacturers and plastics companies led the index gain, with the rubber sub-index moving up by 5.18 percent.

Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co. (正新輪胎) and Kenda Rubber Industrial Co. (建大橡膠) saw their share prices surge during the Thursday session after the two tire makers posted stellar 2013 earnings a day earlier.

Cheng Shin, which reported record net profit of NT$18.55 billion and earnings per share (EPS) of NT$5.72 last year, rose by the daily maximum of 7 percent to close at NT$83.4.

Cheng Shin was also the second-most traded stock in terms of value, following Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (台積電), the heaviest-weighted stock in the local market, which closed 0.43 percent higher at NT$116.

Kenda, with net profits of NT$3.37 billion and EPS of NT$4.41, surged 6.29 percent to NT$74.4.

The rise of Formosa Plastics Corp. (台塑) and its affiliate Formosa Petrochemical Corp. (台塑石化), two large-cap stocks, also supported the gain of the benchmark index.

Formosa Plastics climbed 2.57 percent to NT$75.9 and Formosa Petrochemical closed 2.25 percent higher at NT$77.2.

However, smartphone vendor HTC Corp. (宏達電) lost 1.61 percent to close at NT$152.5, after recording gains during the previous session on the release of its latest flagship phone HTC One (M8).

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