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Local market tumbles amid doubt over Fourth Nuclear Power Plant

TAIPEI -- Shares in Taiwan took a beating Friday as uncertainty over the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant added to a generally downward trend in stock markets across Asia and especially in Greater China, dealers said.

Downward pressure was seen across the board with large-cap stocks, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC,台積電) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (鴻海精密), leading the way, they said, with smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. the exception.

Small-cap stocks also came under attack after a recent research note said Asia Plastic Recycling Holding Ltd. falsified its financial data, which further impacted market sentiment, dealers said.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed down 171.33 points, or 1.91 percent, at 8,774.12, after moving between 8,749.51 and 8,951.06, on turnover of NT$134.05 billion (US$4.42 billion).

Taiwan Second-worst to Shenzhen

It was the steepest fall of any market in Asia outside Shenzhen, where the composite index fell 1.95 percent.

Equity markets in China and Hong Kong trended lower on news that China may allow more than two dozen domestic enterprises to go public, sparking fears of a share oversupply that could squeeze market liquidity and impact share prices.

Shares across Asia were also generally lower except for Japan because of heightened tensions in Ukraine.

In Taiwan, the market opened up 0.36 points and rose to the day's high on a mild technical rebound, but selling set in due to rising concerns over the future of the nearly completed nuclear plant amid opposition to starting up the facility, dealers said.

Heavy selling pushed down the index to fall below the nearest technical support at around 8,800 points, and moved to the day's low before slightly rebounding at the close, they said.

Lin Yi-hsiung, a former chairman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), is staging a hunger strike to pressure the government to scrap the fourth nuclear power plant.

A meeting held between President Ma Ying-jeou and DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang Friday morning failed to yield any progress toward resolving the issue after Ma rejected Su's call to hold an immediate referendum on the fate of the power plant.

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An independent investor stands in front of computer readout showing most local shares closing in the green, in a brokerage in Taipei, yesterday. Unlike the rest of the world, the color green in Taiwan and mainland China signifies the retreat of the broader market or share price. (CNA)

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