Led by technology and shipping stocks, the TAIEX yesterday closed 1.15 percent higher at 14,902.03 points, hitting a new high on the first trading day of the year, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.
While the index pared its gains from an intraday high of 14,937.13 points, it continued its rising streak over the past three sessions.
Turnover totaled NT$345.741 billion (US$12.16 billion), the second-highest after the NT$409.6 billion recorded on Nov. 30 last year, with foreign institutional investors buying a net NT$23.3 billion of shares, the data showed.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, was the most actively traded stock. Its share price rose 8.59 percent to close at NT$99.90 on turnover of NT$22.58 billion.
The stock rose on better profit prospects, after Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) announced a higher gross margin target of 10 percent for this year during the launch of a new research institute to speed up its software and hardware integration.
Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) was the second-most actively traded stock, advancing 9.95 percent to close at NT$44.75 on turnover of NT$22.52 billion, on expectations that it would continue benefiting from rising freight rates.
Other container shippers also saw their share prices rise, with Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運) advancing 9.91 percent to NT$32.15 and Wan Hai Lines Ltd (萬海航運) expanding 7.94 percent to NT$57.10.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) came in third on turnover of NT$21.12 billion, as its share price hit a new high of NT$536 amid expectations that it would raise its capital expenditure to US$22 billion.
Some experts expressed concern over whether the TAIEX could continue advancing.
“It was difficult to imagine that the TAIEX would top 15,000 points, but it is almost there,” Hua Nan Securities Investment Management Co (華南投顧) chairman David Chu (儲祥生) said by telephone.
Chu said he expects the TAIEX to peak in the first quarter and warned that many stocks’ price-to-earnings ratios are already comparatively high.
Margin trading exceeded NT$187 billion on Thursday last week, up from NT$156 billion in early November, which Chu said was an indication that many retail investors were more speculative and took more risks.
“Although higher margin trading does not mean the stock market is about to crash, it is not healthy either,” he said.
Taishin Securities Investment Advisory Co (台新投顧) expects the TAIEX to hit its peak in the second quarter, general manager Mason Li (李鎮宇) said, while Capital Investment Management Corp (群益證投顧) forecast that the index would fall late in the second quarter.
The economy is projected to perform better in the second quarter due to a low comparison base, Li said.
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