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Profit Taking May Dent Taiwan Shares On Thursday

The Taiwan stock market has finished higher in three straight sessions, jumping almost 385 points or 2.4 percent along the way. The Taiwan Stock Exchange now sits just beneath the 16,815-point plateau although it may spin its wheels on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat amid a lack of catalysts, although crude oil offers mild support. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and the Asian bourses are expected to follow suit.

The TSE finished modestly higher on Wednesday following gains from the financials, weakness from the cement companies and a mixed picture from the technology stocks.

For the day, the index gained 75.49 points or 0.45 percent to finish at 16,815.36 after trading between 16,715.32 and 16,816.34.

Among the actives, CTBC Financial added 0.23 percent, while Fubon Financial collected 0.35 percent, First Financial gained 0.45 percent, E Sun Financial was up 0.19 percent, United Microelectronics Corporation jumped 1.58 percent, Hon Hai Precision advanced 0.82 percent, Largan Precision tanked 2.60 percent, Catcher Technology sank 0.72 percent, MediaTek rose 0.30 percent, Formosa Plastic shed 0.50 percent, Asia Cement dipped 0.21 percent, Taiwan Cement eased 0.11 percent and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Cathay Financial and Mega Financial were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as the major averages spent the day bouncing back and forth across the unchanged line before ending mixed and little changed.

The Dow rose 16.02 points or 0.05 percent to finish at 33,446.26, while the NASDAQ eased 9.54 points or 0.07 percent to end at 13,688.84 and the S&P 500 was up 6.01 points or 0.15 percent to close at 4,079.95.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders sought more clarity about the near-term outlook for the markets - which have risen to record highs in recent sessions, but traders may be worried the markets are becoming overbought.

Traders also kept an eye on the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting, although the central bank only reiterated that it is unlikely to change its ultra-loose monetary policy anytime soon.

On the U.S. economic front, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened more than expected in February.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Wednesday, supported by data showing a drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended up $0.44 or 0.7 percent at $59.77 a barrel.

Closer to home, Taiwan will release March numbers for consumer and wholesale prices later today; in February, consumer prices were down 0.08 percent on month and up 1.37 percent on year, while wholesale prices dipped an annual 0.35 percent.

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