The Taiwan stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last five trading days since the end of the five-day winning streak in which it had risen more than 225 points or 3.1 percent. The Taiwan Stock Exchange settled just above the 7,465-point plateau, and now investors are looking for a mild rebound when the market opens on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat with a hint of upside thanks to better than expected consumer sentiment data from the United States, as well as some upbeat corporate earnings news as the season winds down. The European and U.S. markets finished with mild upside, and the Asian bourses are expected to open in similar fashion.
The TSE finished modestly lower on Friday as weakness from the food, plastic, finance, cement and technology stocks was offset by gains among the construction and paper sectors.
For the day, the index lost 22.29 points or 0.29 percent to finish at 7,467.92 after trading between 7,467.92 and 7,516.71 on turnover of 76.05 billion Taiwan dollars.
Among the actives, Highwealth Construction spiked 3.80 percent and Huaku Development surged 5.63 percent, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. shed 1.09 percent and Asustek lost 1.36 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks ended Friday's trading with modest gains, extending a recent advance. A choppy session ended with some momentum going into the close. Better-than-expected economic news solidified market sentiment and allowed the major averages to continue their recent upward drift.
Stocks bounced around through much of the session, with the major averages spending some time in negative territory. The NASDAQ was able to gain ground following the mid-morning. The Dow and S&P 500 held closer to the unchanged mark. Shares received some additional buying interest headed into the close. This allowed the major averages to post modest gains on the session.
Investors were cheered by some positive data on consumer sentiment. Consumer attitudes have improved in August, according to a closely watched survey, rising to their highest level in three months. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index advanced to 73.6 for the month, up from a reading of 72.3 in July. The result topped the figure predicted by economists.
In corporate news, retailer Gap (GPS) revealed earnings for the second quarter that rose 29 percent from last year and topped the amount analysts had predicted. The company also raised its forecast.
Ann Inc. (ANN) was another retailer that posted gains on the session. The owner of the Ann Taylor chain of women's clothing stores beat expectations with its quarterly profit and issued a strong outlook. Shares of Ann climbed $5.75, or 20.4 percent, to close at $33.89.
The major U.S. averages were slightly higher on Friday as the Dow gained 25.09 points, or 0.19 percent, to finish at 13,275.20. The NASDAQ rose 14.20 points, or 0.46 percent, to end at 3,076.59. The S&P 500, which posted its sixth consecutive week of gains, gained 2.65, or 0.19 percent to close at 1,418.16.
In economic news, Taiwan's economy contracted at a slightly faster rate than initially estimated, marking the first decline in more than two years, final figures from the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting & Statistics showed on Friday.
Gross domestic product dropped 0.18 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, faster than the 0.16 percent fall estimated earlier. The latest was the first decline in economic output since the third quarter of 2009, when GDP was down 1.41 percent.
The latest outcome follows a 0.40 percent expansion on the first quarter, which was revised up from 0.39 percent, and a 1.85 percent growth in the final quarter of 2011.
by RTT Staff Writer
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