Taipei, March 17 (CNA) Shares in Taiwan continued their momentum from the previous session to pass the 9,900 point mark with expanded turnover on Friday as buying focused on large-cap stocks, in particular those in the bellwether electronics sector, dealers said.
Market sentiment improved after the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted that it would adopt a mild pace in implementing its interest rate hike cycle, which encouraged foreign investors to move funds into the region, they said.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed up 70.86 points, or 0.72 percent, to finish the day at 9,908.69, off an early low of 9,835.51, on turnover of NT$105.10 billion (US$3.43 billion). Trading volume was higher than the NT$95.55 billion recorded on Thursday.
The market opened up 7.76 points, reflecting trading on a lackluster Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.07 percent and the S&P 500 index ended down 0.16 percent, dealers said.
The local weighted index moved within a narrow range in the early morning session, but buying in high-tech heavyweights, especially those in the Apple Inc. supply chain, pushed up the broader market, they said, adding that buying in the late session became more visible, propelling the index past 9,900 point at the end of trading.
"Investors remained willing to buy on Friday after a 1 percent rally on Thursday by taking their cue from the moderate pace of the Fed in tightening monetary policy," Hua Nan Securities analyst Henry Miao said.
After wrapping up a two-day policymaking meeting on Wednesday, the Fed signaled that it will raise interest rates three times in 2017. Before the meeting, the market had anticipated four rate hikes for the year.
"It is no surprise that foreign investors will move more funds into the region. Ample liquidity is lending support to share prices region wide," Miao said. "Look at the solid gains posted by large-cap stocks here, foreign institutional investors continued to stand on the buy side today."
According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$13.57 billion worth of shares on the main board on Friday after net purchases of NT$12.58 billion on Thursday.
The electronics sector was the largest beneficiary of the strong foreign institutional buying, finishing up 0.9 percent at the close, Miao said.
After Apple Inc. shares hit a new high overnight, many Taiwanese manufacturers in the U.S. firm's supply chain performed well and late session buying boosted these stocks further, the analyst said.
Among the Apple suppliers to gain most, shares in smartphone camera lens maker Largan Precision Co. (大立光) rose 2.04 percent to close at NT$4,760.00 to remain the most expensive stock on the local market.
Catcher Technology Co. (可成), a metal casing supplier to Apple, added 4.25 percent to close at NT$282.00, after the company reported a record high NT$9.53 billion in net profit for the October-December period, up 113 percent from the previous quarter and 34.8 percent year-on-year.
Shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (台積電), the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, which is believed to supply the processors for iPhone production, rose 0.79 percent to close at NT$191.50.
In the financial sector, which ended up 0.47 percent, shares in Shin Kong Financial Holding Co. (新光金) gained 2.48 percent to close at NT$8.69 and Mega Financial Holding Co. (兆豐金) added 0.84 percent to end at NT$24.15.
"The Fed worries have been removed. But, investors had better pay close attention to the upcoming presidential election in France to check whether populism wins, as that could move the global financial markets," Miao said.
(By Frances Huang)