Sat, Jan 07, 2006 - Page 10 News List

TAIEX posts 10-week winning streak

ON THE RISE The benchmark index hasn't had such a good run of weekly increases since 2000, although analysts warn that some stocks have gained too much, too fast

STAFF WRITER , WITH BLOOMBERG AND AP

Shares climbed for a 10th week on the local bourse, the longest weekly winning streak in almost six years. Although the TAIEX started out strong in yesterday's morning session, the benchmark index retreated before noon and fell 0.22 percent, paced by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) on concerns that recent gains were excessive relative to earnings.

Exporters such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) advanced after the nation's currency had its biggest decline against the US dollar in three months, boosting the value of exporters' overseas sales.

"A halt in the rise of the local currency will boost investor confidence in exporters," said Liu Ju-ming, a fund manager at Ta Chong Investment Trust Corp (大眾投信). A weaker NT dollar means exports earn more in local currency terms.

The TAIEX shed 15.05 points at 6,694.82, ending a 3.8 percent gain in the past three days. The index climbed 2.2 percent this week, its 10th consecutive weekly advance, matching a run of increases that ended on Feb. 19, 2000.

Hon Hai, the nation's largest electronics company by sales, dropped as some investors bet that recent share price gains were excessive relative to earnings. The company, which assembles iPods, declined 1.5 percent to NT$200, after the stock rose 12.8 percent in the past four days while settling at a four-and-a-half year high of NT$203 on Thursday.

"Some stocks in Taiwan have gained too much, too fast, prompting investors to cut their holdings in them," Liu said.

Mobile phone chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) shed 5.9 percent to NT$370, after hitting a 28-month high of NT$414.50 on Tuesday. The company's shares were also under pressure after Merrill Lynch & Co downgraded it to "sell" on Thursday in a report to investors, with a target price at NT$348.

Merrill Lynch said in the report that MediaTek was downgraded as competition in low-end handset ICs is becoming fierce, especially the recent entry of Texas Instruments Inc in this segment of business.

TSMC, the world's largest supplier of made-to-order computer chips, climbed NT$1.50, or 2.3 percent, to NT$65.50. Largan Precision Co (大立光), a manufacturer of lenses for digital cameras, jumped NT$40, or 6.9 percent, to NT$617.

However, traders were still optimistic about the near future.

"The uptrend remains unchanged," Ta Ching Securities (大慶證券) sales manager Daniel Liu said.

Derek Lam, a senior trader at Daiwa Securities SMBC-Cathay Co (大和國泰證券), said he expects the index to test 6,800 next week on hopes for a traditional rally before the Lunar New Year holiday at the end of the month.

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