Thu, Dec 09, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Stocks lower as election campaign drains confidence


Shares fell yesterday as investors remained cautious ahead of Saturday's legislative elections, with technology stocks among the worst performers.

The TAIEX fell 32.77 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,892.51 in trading valued at NT$49.17 billion (US$1.52 billion).

Electronics shares lost 0.9 percent as a whole, after the tech-laden NASDAQ Composite index fell 1.7 percent overnight.

Both foreign and local investors will likely continue to sell technology stocks, said Stanley Chou, a Barits Securities (倍利證券) manager.

"Many of my clients have stayed out of the market since the second half of November in view of high political risks," Chou said.

Among the most heavily sold issues, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) ended 0.8 percent lower at NT$48.80, and rival United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) shed 1 percent to NT$20.20.

Chou said government-linked funds are expected to cushion the market from any election impact.

Meanwhile, Goldman, Sachs & Co cut its ratings on Taiwan stocks to "market weight" from "overweight," saying the nation's stronger currency will dent export earnings.

"We do think there's a risk of a reported earnings shock from a stronger currency environment," Timothy Moe, the brokerage's regional strategist, told reporters in Hong Kong.

The NT dollar gained 4.9 percent against its US counterpart in the past three months.

"The market hasn't factored in all the appreciation of" Taiwan's currency, Moe said.

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