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Taiwan Stock Market Draws Another Green Light

The Taiwan stock market on Thursday snapped the three-day losing streak in which it had tumbled nearly 200 points or 2.1 percent. The Taiwan Stock Exchange now rests just above the 9,640-point plateau and it has another positive lead for Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic as the U.S. stock markets shrugged off heavy damage in the morning to rise again on bargain hunting - although weakness from crude oil prices may cap the upside.

The TSE finished sharply higher on Thursday with gains across the board - especially from the financials and technology stocks.

For the day, the index soared 162.57 points or 1.72 percent to finish at 9,641.56 after trading between 9,555.01 and 9,670.97 on turnover of 81.32 billion Taiwan dollars.

Among the actives, Cathay Financial climbed 1.52 percent, while Fubon Financial advanced 0.97 percent, CTBC Financial collected 0.76 percent, Mega Financial perked 0.20 percent, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company spiked 3.46 percent, United Microelectronics Corporation was up 0.45 percent, AU Optronics gathered 1.67 percent, Largan Precision gained 0.32 percent, AsusTek Computer rose 0.76 percent, Hon Hai Precision added 0.85 percent, Formosa Plastic jumped 1.56 percent, Formosa Petrochemical surged 6.31 percent, Chunghwa Telecom gathered 0.47 percent, China Steel added 0.63 percent, Asia Cement was up 0.45 percent and Taiwan Cement was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks shook off heavy weakness on Thursday morning, skyrocketing off their worst levels of the day and into positive territory.

The Dow jumped 260.24 points or 1.14 percent to 23,138.69, while the NASDAQ added 25.14 points or 0.38 percent to 6,579.49 and the S&P 500 gained 21.13 points or 0.86 percent to 2,488.83.

The early weakness came as traders cashed in on Wednesday's surge, which saw the Dow record its biggest single-day gain ever. Lingering concerns about the global economic outlook may also have weighed - although the late-day rally came on further bargain hunting.

In economic news, the Conference Board noted a significant deterioration in consumer confidence in December. Also, the Labor Department saw a slight drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 22.

Crude oil futures declined sharply Thursday - one day after rebounding from 18-month lows. West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for February ended down $1.61 or 3.5 percent at $44.61 a barrel.

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