Taipei shares close sharply higher

2007-12-27 02:34:13 Shenzhen Daily

TAIPEI, Dec 27, 2007 (AFP) - Taiwan share prices closed 1.93 percent higher Thursday in expanded trade despite lingering domestic political uncertainty, dealers said.

Investors appeared to be betting on a favourable outcome for opposition presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou as the High Court was set to rule on the corruption and breach of trust charges against him on Friday, they said.

The weighted index closed up 157.33 points at 8,313.72, after moving in a range between 8,169.19 and 8,355.28. Turnover nearly doubled from the previous session to 112.94 billion Taiwan dollars (3.48 billion US).

Risers led decliners 1,548 to 450, with 426 stocks unchanged.

A total of 27 stocks closed limit-up and 29 limit-down.

The heavily weighted electronics and financial sectors were up 2.05 percent and 1.41 percent, respectively.

The cement sector was up 3.12 percent, with food up 2.80 percent, plastics/petrochemical up 1.87 percent, construction up 1.57 percent, textiles up 1.35 percent, and paper up 0.46 percent.

The Taiwan dollar closed the morning at 32.521 over the dollar, compared with the previous close of 32.529.

"Investors have apparently anticipated that Ma would be able to stay in the presidential race after tomorrow's verdict," said an analyst with a local securities house.

Ma would be automatically disqualified if the court were to convict him of breach of trust. He would also be barred from running if he is found guilty of corruption and sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

The analyst said the conspicuous expansion in turnover reflected a growing willingness to build positions.

With foreign investors gradually returning from holidays, the market looks poised to ride another upswing well into next month, given that tomorrow's ruling favours Ma, he said.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, whose share repurchase program is still under way, was up 2.20 Taiwan dollars at 61.70.

United Microelectronics Corp added 0.10 to 19.95.

MediaTek was up 7.00 at 400.50. Bargain hunters made up yesterday's losses incurred when the semiconductor company lowered its forecast for fourth-quarter sales.

LCD makers were mixed as investors cashed out early gains, with AU Optronics up 0.20 at 60.40 and Chi Mei down 0.30 at 43.95.

Shin Kong Financial was down 0.25 at 22.10, after announcing a planned sale of 700 million new shares at 18.50 dollars each. Cathay Financial was up 0.70 at 67.70.