The Taiwan stock market had closed lower now in three straight sessions, plummeting almost 240 points or 3.1 percent in that span. The Taiwan Stock Exchange closed just above the 7,450-point plateau, and now analysts are looking at a solid recovery for the opening of trade on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to higher, lifted by bargain hunting since many of the regional bourses have taken heavy losses so far this week. Buying interest also may be generated by a report from the U.S. Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims unexpectedly dropped to a four-year low last week. The European markets were sharply higher and the U.S. markets were mixed but little changed - and the Asian bourses figure to split the difference.
The TSE finished sharply lower on Thursday as it caught up on some missed negative sentiment following Wednesday's holiday for National Day. Textile stocks were down, along with food, cement, plastic, technology, construction, finance and paper shares.
For the day, the index plummeted 140.29 points or 1.84 percent to finish at 7,451.72 after trading between 7,448.06 and 7,501.22 on turnover of 81.79 billion Taiwan dollars.
Among the decliners, HTC plunged by the 7 percent daily limit, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. dropped 1.84 percent, Hon Hai Precision Industry retreated 3.70 percent, Far Eastern New Century plummeted 4.09 percent and Nan Ya Plastics fell 3.17 percent.
The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks gave back ground after failing to sustain an early upward move on Thursday to end nearly flat. The early strength was partly due to bargain hunting, with traders picking up stocks at reduced levels following recent weakness.
Adding to the buying interest was the release of a report from the Labor Department showing that initial jobless claims unexpectedly dropped to a four-year low last week. The report said initial jobless claims tumbled to 339,000 in the week ended October 6 from the previous week's revised figure of 369,000.
The drop surprised economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge up to 370,000 from the 367,000 originally reported for the previous month. With the unexpected decrease, jobless claims fell to the lowest level since a matching number in the week ended February 16, 2008.
The report initially helped to drive stocks higher, although buying interest waned over the course of the morning due in part to indications that the data was distorted by an irregular filing by a large state.
Lingering concerns about the global economic outlook also contributed to the pullback by the markets, with a report from the Commerce Department showing a notable drop in U.S. exports in August.
Among individual stocks, Sprint Nextel (S) held on to a standout gain following reports that Japanese mobile carrier Softbank is in advanced talks to buy the company in a deal expected to exceed $12.8 billion. Shares of Sprint Nextel jumped 14.3 percent.
The major U.S. markets were mixed but little changed on Thursday as the S&P 500 inched up 0.28 points or less than a tenth of a percent to finish at 1,432.84, while the Dow edged down 18.58 points or 0.1 percent to end at 13,326.39 and the NASDAQ dipped 2.40 points or 0.1 percent to close at 3,049.38.
by RTT Staff Writer
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