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Taiwan shares end flat

Taiwan shares end flat

Shares in Taiwan closed little changed on thin turnover Thursday as many investors stayed on the sidelines amid lingering fears of a possible interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve in December, dealers said.

While many large-cap stocks in the bellwether electronics sector remained in the doldrums, integrated circuit designers, led by MediaTek Inc., posted gains to lend support to the weighted index, they said.

Select old economy stocks, in particular in the petrochemical and textile sector attracted bargain hunting, fending off selling on the broader market and preventing the index from falling further, they added.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange ended down 1.34 points, or 0.02 percent, at 8,456.06, after moving between 8,393.29 and 8,484.52, on turnover of NT$80.07 billion (US$2.44 billion).

The market opened down 0.39 percent in a knee-jerk reaction to a weaker Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.89 percent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ index lost 0.64 percent overnight on rate hike concerns, dealers said.

After the index fell to the day's low, some bargain hunters entered the market, pushing up the overall share prices to positive territory, but with the index moving closer to 8,500 points, selling emerged and eroded the earlier gains by the close, they said.

"Market sentiment has been affected by the Fed's rate hike fears so many investors were reluctant to chase prices even though the index rebounded during the session," Concord Securities analyst Kerry Huang said. "Because turnover was so low, it made it hard for the index to overcome the stiff technical resistance ahead of 8,500 points."

Huang said a speech made by Fed Chair Janet Yellen in the Economic Club of Washington overnight raised worries over a rate hike in December. In her speech, Yellen said that the U.S. economy has met expectations since October, implying an immediate rate increase.

The bellwether electronics stocks closed down 0.02 percent. Among the falling large-cap high-tech stocks, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the most heavily weighted stock in the local market ended unchanged at NT$143.00, while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. lost 1.17 percent to close at NT$84.70, and smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. fell 2.30 percent to end at NT$2,550.00.

"The silver lining was that the IC design sector appeared resilient, serving as an anchor to stabilize the broader market," Huang said, adding that to his knowledge, IC designers have benefited from rush orders this quarter. Among the rising IC stocks, MediaTek gained 1.86 percent to close at NT$274.00, and Realtek Semiconductor Corp. rose 4.49 percent to end at NT$74.50.

In the old economy sector, Formosa Plastics Corp. rose 0.66 percent to close at NT$75.80 and Eclat Textile Co. gained 3.14 percent to end at NT$443.50.

"Before uncertainty over the Fed is removed, the local main board is likely to continue to move in a narrow range," Huang said. The Fed will hold a policymaking meeting Dec. 15-16. (By Frances Huang)

Updated : 2021-09-19 12:55 GMT+08:00