Stocks rose, led by the nation's biggest companies such as Tai-wan Semiconductor Manufac-turing Co (TSMC, 台積電), on optimism the government will help companies affected by the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The TAIEX rose 14.30, or 0.3 percent, to 4,202.12. About five stocks gained for every two that declined. MSCI Taiwan futures for May delivery in Singapore gained 0.1 percent to 182.10.
"The government is stepping up efforts to contain SARS, but most investors are still cautious," said Phil Chen, who manages Grand Cathay Securities Investment Trust Co's (大華投信) US$46 million High-Tech Fund.
"The key question is if China can contain the outbreak, because Taiwan's economy is closely linked to China," he said.
TSMC, the world's biggest supplier of made-to-order chips, added NT$0.20, or 0.4 percent, to NT$48.50. Quanta Computer Inc (
Still, some financial companies such as Cathay Financial Holding Co (
Cathay Financial, the nation's largest life insurer, fell NT$0.10, or 1 percent, to NT$39.40.
MediaTek Inc (聯發科技) fell NT$2 or 0.7 percent, to NT$286 after it said it expects sales in the second quarter to decline by less than 10 percent from the first three months as demand for computer-related products slows.
Via Technologies Inc (威盛電子) fell NT$0.30, or 0.8 percent, to NT$38.10. The company said on Friday that sales last month fell 15 percent from a year earlier.