Tue, Apr 13, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Stocks hit highest level since before presidential vote

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Stocks jumped 157.42 points yesterday to close at the highest level since March 19, despite Saturday's violent demonstration and an unexpected power failure in the nation's Silicon Valley on the same day.

Analysts attributed the surge to strong corporate earnings reports and investors' hope that no further major protests will be staged before May 20.

The TAIEX rose 2.38 percent to 6777.78, with gainers beating decliners 803 to 78, while 94 stocks ended unchanged.

The turnover was NT$156.55 billion.

Overseas investors bought a net of NT$3.71 billion, while domestic investment-trust investors and proprietary traders bought a net NT$3.89 billion, according to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

"Stocks rallied on optimism that the political clouds have gradually been clearing up, and investor confidence is further bolstered by solid fundamen-tals," Jones Wang (王源錦), a deputy manager at ABN-AMRO Asset Management Taiwan, said yesterday.

More than 120 people were injured in the clashes between protesters and police on Saturday, while some 300 high-tech companies in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park suffered an unexpected blackout, causing an estimated loss of NT$1.5 million.

Wang said the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Central Executive Committee conference on Saturday proved that the party has the required attitude for long-term rule.

Also, the forensic specialist Henry Lee's (李昌鈺) investigation into the assassination attempt on President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) has helped reduce investors' distrust, Wang added.

Dave Chou (周顯黎), an assistant manager at Yuanta Core Pacific Capital Management, said that, as political variables are gradually diminishing and the power outage in the Hsinchu Science Park only had a temporary impact, there should be another reason behind the gains.

"The first-quarter corporate earnings reports are generally better than expected. I believe this is the major reason for today's [yesterday's] rosy performance," Chou said.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co, the world's largest made-to-order chipmaker, closed NT$1.00 higher at NT$61.00. The company is slated to report its first-quarter profit on April 30.

Robust gains in electronics and flat-panel stocks led the rise in the local bourse.

Powerchip Semiconductor Corp, the nation's third-largest maker of dynamic random access memory (DRAM), edged NT$0.6 higher to NT$38.6.

Quanta Display Inc, a flat-panel maker, advanced NT$1.8, or 6.7 percent, to NT$28.8, while AU Optronics Corp, the world's third-largest flat-panel display maker, surged NT$4.5, or 6.9 percent, to NT$69.5.

While some investors viewed yesterday's strong stock showing as a surprise, Allen Tseng (曾炎裕), an associate manager of Capital Securities Corp, didn't think so.

"The TAIEX initially rocketed by around 100 points after the market opened, but the rising power did not continue and the bourse closed with an increase of 157.42 points," Tseng said.

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