Taipei stock market suffers record one-day plunge amid coronavirus fears

Gaming industry shares profit from the outbreak

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The Taiex plunged a record 696 points Thursday (Jan. 30).

The Taiex plunged a record 696 points Thursday (Jan. 30). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taipei’s stock market index recorded its steepest one-day fall Thursday (Jan. 30), losing almost 700 points, or 5.75 percent, to close at 11,421.74 points as investor confidence was shaken by the spread of the coronavirus.

While Taiwan has confirmed eight cases of the virus (2019-nCoV) by Thursday, the official number in neighboring China has reached more than 7,700, including at least 170 deaths.

At its lowest point Thursday, the Taiex fell 700 points to 11,418.22, but it recovered slightly in the final minutes of the trading day, closing with a total drop of 696.97 points, CNA reported.

The electronics sector did even worse than the stock market average, losing 5.99 percent, as many of Taiwan’s world-class electronics manufacturers have production units in China which are being affected by the virus outbreak there. Several companies have asked their staff to work from home and not to return to China from Taiwan now that the Lunar New Year holiday has ended.

Shares in the banking sector lost a total of 4.56 percent, according to CNA.

The exception to the rule was the gaming industry, which saw its shares rise because investors expect the public to stay at home and play more games during the virus outbreak. Stocks of individual companies likely to profit from current trends, such as manufacturers of face masks, also recorded gains Thursday.

While it might take some months for the coronavirus outbreak to subside, analysts said the underlying trends for Taiwan’s stock market were still positive.