Taiwan shares down 2% Tuesday

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan share prices closed lower Tuesday amid profit taking after a one-week high and worries about a war in Iraq, dealers said. 

The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange finished lower by 99.77 points, or 2.1 percent, at 4,605.31, after it rose 211.09 points Monday - its best single-day gain in four months. 

Dealings Tuesday were valued at 61.5 billion New Taiwan dollars (US$1.76 billion). Decliners outnumbered advancers 574 to 108, while 67 issues ended the day unchanged. 

The market closed high on Monday, largely because many investors were beginning to think that a U.S.-led attack against Iraq might not be imminent, dealers said. 

But market participants said the fears about a potential conflict returned on Tuesday.However, dealers said investors were likely looking for an excuse to sell because volume was light and because of a lack of fresh cues after a market holiday in the U.S. overnight. 

Dealers were divided on what direction the index might take in the near term, but they said U.S. equity performance would be the key. 

Taiwan International Securities analyst Andrew Teng predicted a possible rise, though strong technical resistance is expected at 4,700. 

"As long as geopolitical uncertainty sabotages market sentiment, we believe the Taiex (Taiwan Stock Exchange) is unlikely to launch a midterm rally,'' said David Li, an analyst at Entrust Securities. 

Most major sectors ended down, with the key technology subindex falling 1.7 percent, led by selling in chipmaker United Microelectronics and flat panel maker AU Optronics. - AP

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