The TAIEX shed 0.84 percent to 8,063 yesterday, ending the Year of the Goat with a 15.3 percent decline as investors grew uneasy over further volatility in global markets after Wall Street took a hit and international oil prices plunged, dealers said.
Selling focused on financial stocks amid fears that they would incur heavy losses from their overseas investments at a time of instability in the world economy, while Apple Inc-linked stocks trended lower due to lingering worries over shipments of the next generation of iPhones, they said.
Bucking the TAIEX fall, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, lent support to the local bourse after the company announced a generous cash dividend proposal for earnings made last year, they added.
The main trading index fell 68.24 points, or 0.84 percent, to 8,063.00 on turnover of NT$77.596 billion (US$2.3 billion), Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) data showed.
As of today, the bourse is closed for the Lunar New Year holiday, and is to resume trading on Feb. 15.
It was the fourth time in the past 20 years that the TAIEX recorded a loss ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, according to TWSE data.
The three previous losing sessions were in 1996, 1998 and 2014.
The index tumbled 15.3 percent, or 1,466 points, in the lunar year that ends on Sunday.
“It was no surprise that the Taiwan market suffered a loss due to the shock seen on Wall Street and the plunge in oil prices,” Concord Securities analyst Kerry Huang said.
Compared with other regional markets, the local equity market seemed resilient, Huang said.
TSMC helped support the market after announcing its cash dividend proposal a day earlier.
TSMC plans to distribute an NT$6 cash dividend for earnings made last year, higher than the NT$4.5 dividend for 2014, after the chipmaker posted a new record in net profit for last year.
TSMC closed up by 2.46 percent to close at NT$146 after a 0.45 percent increase in its American depository receipts overnight.
Turnover posted by TSMC share transactions stood at NT$10.39 billion on the main board yesterday.
However, other high-tech stocks, particularly those in the supply chain of Apple, came under pressure as foreign institutional investors stood on the sell side, dealers said.
According to the TWSE, foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$1.65 billion worth of shares on the main board yesterday.
Among Apple-linked names, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海), an assembler of iPhones and iPads, fell 2.3 percent to close at NT$76.60 and metal casing maker Catcher Technology Co (可成) shed 2.06 percent to end at NT$237.50.
Largan Precision Co (大立光) closed unchanged at NT$2,350.
In the financial sector, which ended down by 1.97 percent, Fubon Financial Holdings Co (富邦) lost 1.69 percent to close at NT$37.85, and Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金) fell 3.24 percent to end at NT$35.80.
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