Taipei, Shares in Taiwan closed little changed Tuesday and the index remained above 11,100 points, propped up by last ditch buying, dealers said.
Petrochemical stocks largely moved lower due to a drop in international crude oil prices but this was offset by buying in some "Apple concept stocks" after the U.S. consumer electronics giant closed at a record high on Wall Street overnight, they said.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE), or the Taiex, ended down 9.39 points, or 0.08 percent, at 11,100.11, after moving between 11,054.62 and 11,131.08. Turnover totaled NT$161.83 billion (US$5.43 billion) during the session.
The market opened up 0.18 percent and rose to the day's high on follow-through buying as investors took cues from the continued gains on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.72 percent overnight, dealers said.
However, selling soon emerged on the Taiex, focusing on large-cap petrochemical stocks as market sentiment was hurt after crude oil prices plunged about 2 percent overnight, they said.
Meanwhile, some bargain hunters began buy into select Apple suppliers, driven by a 0.8 percent increase in Apple shares, dealers said.
In the last few minutes of the session, the bargain buying became more evident, with investors picking up large-cap stocks such as contract chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), which helped the main board recover from its earlier losses, dealers said.
"After yesterday's strong showing, it was no surprise that the local equity market took a break today," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said. "Investors simply seized on a tumble in crude prices to dump petrochemical heavyweights but the bellwether electronics sector continued to anchor the broader market."
With the petrochemical sector taking a battering, Formosa Petrochemical Corp. fell 1.62 percent to close at NT$121.50 and Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp. dropped 1.28 percent to end at NT$115.50.
The electronics sector, meanwhile, fell 0.13 percent to close at 456.35, off a low of 453.72. TSMC, a supplier of processors for iPhone production and the most heavily weighted stock on the local market, ended unchanged at NT$229.00 after hitting a low of NT$226.50, with 26.51 million shares changing hands.
Among other Apple suppliers, iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., second only to TSMC in terms of market value, rose 0.34 percent to close at NT$88.10, and smartphone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co. finished 0.79 percent higher at NT$4,450.00.
In addition to high tech stocks, the financial sector also helped prop up the market, Su said.
Among the gaining financial stocks, Cathay Financial holding Co. rose 0.56 percent to close at NT$54.30, and Fubon Financial Holding Co. added 0.38 percent to end at NT$53.00.
"The late buying in tech heavyweights seemed to come from foreign institutional investors," Su said. "After some consolidation, the main board will return to an uptrend soon, I think."
According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors bought a net NT$2.3 billion worth of shares on the main board Tuesday.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel