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Stocks

Shares up on hopes DPP govt will support market

TAIPEI -- Taiwan's benchmark Taiex closed higher Monday in the first trading day following the election of opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen as the city-state's new president in a landslide victory two days ago.

     Shares in Taiwan had traded lower in line with losses in most Asian markets in the morning, but they reversed trend after authorities said the National Security Fund will prop up the stock market until mid-April. The Taiex gained 0.63% to close at 7,811.18, compared with losses in many Asian markets.

     "For the current quarter, we won't be too optimistic about market performance as fundamentals remain weak," said Chien Bor-yi, an analyst at Cathay Securities. "The Taiwanese market might seesaw further if anything comes up, ranging from the continuous plummet in oil prices to the deterioration of China's economic slowdown."

     Shares in Apple Inc. suppliers -- that had plunged due to reports that the U.S. giant was cutting orders in the last two weeks -- mostly rebounded on Monday.

     Touch-module supplier TPK Holding's shares surged almost 10% to 62.4 New Taiwan dollars ($1.84), although they are still down 24.36% this year. Shares in key iPhone assembler Pegatron rose 4.78% to NT$68 while its rival Hon Hai Precision Industry closed 0.53% lower at NT$74.9. Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed flat at NT$137 per share.

     Shares of Hiwin Technologies, Taiwan's biggest manufacturer of precision machinery components, soared to the day's limit of 10% at NT$115.5, on Tsai's pre-election announcement that her administration will develop a smart machinery industry cluster in the city of Taichung where the company is based.

     Shares in smartphone maker HTC moved up 5.23% to NT$76.5 as its management team mulls a spin-off of its virtual reality business.Shares in MediaTek, the largest mobile chip supplier in China, also gained 2.44% to NT$210 Monday, although they have shed more than 15% this year.

     Performance in the banking sector was mixed, as worries about the weak yuan and market volatility dominated play. Most financial stocks opened significantly lower before recovering somewhat later in the day. Shares in Fubon Financial Holding ended up 1.49% at NT$37.35 and those in CTBC Financial Holding finished 0.33% higher at NT$15.2. Cathay Financial Holding lost 1.41% at NT$35 and Mega Financial Holding fell 1% to NT$19.65

     Although there are concerns that Beijing may restrict the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan following the election of pro-independence Tsai as president, the tumbling oil price helped the shares of China Airlines and EVA Airways, which rose 2.69% to NT$11.45 and 3.09% to NT$18.35, respectively.

     "We finally see some positive signs in the Taiex-at least investors' confidence has returned," said David Chu, chairman of Hua Nan Securities. "Investors would also look closely at how Tasi is going to strike a balance in the cross-strait relationships."

     Markets in the rest of Asia were largely in negative territory Monday, with the notable exception of China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index which rose 0.44% to 2,913.84. The index is still down 17.65% so far this year.

     Japan's Nikkei Stock Average was off 1.11% at 16,956. The Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong lost 1.45% at 19,237, Singapore's Straits Times Index shed 1.44% at 2,593 and the Korea Stock Exchange Index fell 0.02% to 1,878.45. 

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