The Taiwan stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four trading days since the end of the two-day losing streak in which it had fallen more than 105 points or 1.5 percent. The Taiwan Stock Exchange finished just above the 7,150-point plateau, and now investors are looking at further damage when the market kicks off trade on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets remains soft thanks to ongoing debt concerns in Europe. Moody's downgraded 16 Spanish banks Friday, citing rising loan defaults, a renewed recession in Spain, restricted funding access and the reduced ability of the Spanish government to support lenders. In addition, the Bank of Spain said the country's bad loans increased further in March to the highest bad debt ratio since 1994. The European and U.S. markets finished firmly in the red, and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.
The TSE finished sharply lower on Friday following losses in the technology, finance, cement, construction, paper, textile, and plastic sectors.
For the day, the index plummeted 205.58 points or 2.79 percent to finish at 7,151.19 after trading between 7,149.36 and 7,253.10 on turnover of 83.91 billion Taiwan dollars.
Among the decliners, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. shed 3.88 percent, while Hon Hai Precision lost 2.92 percent, Asia Cement fell 2.49 percent, Far Eastern New Century retreated 2.34 percent and Mega Financial gave away 3.48 percent.
The lead from Wall Street continues to provide little encouragement as stocks showed another notable move to the downside on Friday after posting a lack of direction in morning trade. The pullback came despite a lack of major catalysts, with the drop reflecting the recent downward momentum for the markets as traders were reluctant to hold positions going into the weekend.
Lingering concerns about the financial situation in Europe continued to weigh on the markets, with the ongoing political uncertainty in Greece adding to worries about the outlook for the eurozone.
In addition, the Bank of Spain said the country's bad loans increased further in March. About 8.37 percent of loans held by banks in March were unpaid for more than three months. That compares to 8.3 percent in February. This was the highest bad debt ratio since 1994.
Social networking giant Facebook attracted a lot of attention after making its debut on the NASDAQ in late morning trading. Technical issues delayed the opening by about 30 minutes. After opening notably higher, shares of Facebook fluctuated over the course of the session, eventually ending the day up by just 0.6 percent.
Meanwhile, shares of Gap (GPS) fell by 2.3 percent even though the apparel retailer reported better than expected first quarter results. The company also raised its full-year earnings guidance. Chip maker Marvell Technology (MRVL) also ended the day in the red despite reporting better than expected first quarter results.
The major averages also ended Friday firmly in negative territory, at their worst closing levels in four months. The Dow fell 73.11 points or 0.6 percent to finish at 12,369.38, while the NASDAQ plunged 34.90 points or 1.2 percent to end at 2,778.79 and the S&P 500 slid 9.64 points or 0.7 percent to 1,295.22. With the losses, the averages all fell sharply for the week as the Dow dropped by 3.5 percent, while the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 tumbled by 5.3 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.
by RTT Staff Writer
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