Sat, Nov 29, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Stocks advance after talks allow for referendum bill

BLOOMBERG AND AFP , TAIPEI

Stocks advanced yesterday after lawmakers compromised on a bill allowing the public to vote on constitutional amendments that don't seek to change the nation's flag, name or political status.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) led shares of the nation's largest companies higher. The TAIEX rose 31.2, or 0.5 percent, to 5,771.77. The benchmark lost 4.5 percent this month, its biggest monthly decline since February.

About two stocks rose for every one that fell. The Taiwan Futures Index shed 0.2 percent to 5,808.

"The compromised version of the bill cleared investors' immediate concerns over accelerating cross-straits tension," said Celine Chiang (江宜津), a fund manager at Polaris International Securities Investment Trust Co (寶來投信).

But traders were mixed about the market's outlook for next month.

Some argued it was time to buy into next year's improved economic prospects now that the referendum issue appeared to have passed without precipitating a crisis.

"Now we can look forward to buying into next year's story in December," said Primasia Securities analyst George Wu (吳裕良).

Others, however, said the market had run out of steam.

Jeff Kao, an equity analyst at Allianz Dresdner Asset Management, said the market lacked the leads to sustain its sharp upward momentum.

"It's basically a conservative market at the moment," he said.

TSMC, the world's largest supplier of made-to-order chips, added NT$0.50, or 0.8 percent, to NT$63.50.

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