Fri, Mar 26, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Weekend rally worries traders


Shares ended lower yesterday as investors began to quit positions ahead of a planned weekend demonstration by the opposition that some fear may further complicate the country's political situation.

The TAIEX finished down 56.83 points, or 0.9 percent, at 6,156.73 in dealings valued at NT$119.3 billion (US$3.58 billion). Decliners outnumbered advancers nearly two to one, while 148 issues ended the day unchanged.

The TAIEX has dropped 10.5 percent since the election. Taiwan Index futures due in April fell 0.7 percent to 6,135.

"Most investors don't expect the stock market to do well tomorrow because of the rally, so they're taking profits," said George Wu (吳裕良), an analyst at Primasia Securities Co.

In one good sign for the market, some Taiwanese stocks hardest hit this week came well off intraday lows after falling by the market limit of 7 percent each day for the past three sessions.

Shares in the nation's major airlines traded off their lows for part of the day, but ended down on concerns over tomorrow's rally.

China Airlines (華航) fell 6.7 percent to NT$19.5, while Eva Airways Corp (長榮) fell 6.6 percent to NT$17.1, their fourth straight day of near market-limit losses.

Primasia airlines analyst Chris Smith said the sell-off and pessimism are both overdone.

"It's not as bad as people think. There has been a lot of progress made [by the Chen government] toward direct transport links," Smith said.

The shares may also gain some favor today after President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) reaffirmed his commitment to pursue direct links with China during a television address yesterday.

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