Sat, Dec 27, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Shares volume drops to lowest in seven months

AP , TAIPEI

Shares ended little changed on Friday, with volume dropping to a seven-month low on political concerns.

The TAIEX closed up 3.51 points, or 0.06 percent, at 5,857.21. Gainers outnumbered decliners 392 to 315, with 236 unchanged.

Trading totaled NT$44.70 billion (US$1.31 billion), the lowest level since May 22, when volume reached NT$38.78 billion (US$1.13 billion).

In Thursday's session, trading amounted to NT$52.92 billion (US$1.55 billion).

Many investors were still on holiday, while others remained sidelined on concerns political infighting in Taiwan may continue in the run-up to the March presidential election.

"Who knows what our president will do before the election. This is why there isn't much buying," said Jack Shih, assistant vice president at Daiwa Securities SMBC-Cathay.

Selling pressure wasn't heavy either, amid the upbeat economic outlook for next year. The Taiwan government has an economic growth target of 5 percent next year, compared with a 3.15 percent forecast for this year.

Jih Sun Securities Investment (日盛投顧) assistant vice president Michael Hsu said the market was mired in another session of rangebound trading, with the benchmark index moving in a span of less than 50 points, as investors remained away from the trading floor.

Goldsun Development & Construction Co (國產) rallied 6.4 percent to NT$6.70, while BES Engineering Corp (中華工程) rose about 1 percent to NT$5.25.

Chien Shing Stainless Steel Co (千興) surged 6.7 percent to NT$13.55, on expectations the higher price of nickel would boost the company's profit.

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