TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan shares ended slightly lower for a second session Tuesday, in a retreat ahead of the Chinese New Year and due to concerns local currency gains might hurt exporters, dealers said.
The benchmark index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed down 9.49 points, or 0.2 percent, to 6,210.22.
Decliners outnumbered gainers 472 to 271 with 205 stocks unchanged.
Trading totaled 89.76 billion New Taiwan dollars (US$2.66 billion), down from NT$90.92 billion (US$2.7 billion) Monday.
Recent star performers, including some chipmakers, led the losses as investors cashed in before the holiday, dealers said.
"Before a long holiday, funds coming in and out of the market usually decline,'' said Tao Chih-wei, assistant manager at Fubon Securities Investment Services.
The stock market will be closed Jan. 17-26 for Chinese New Year.
Stocks that performed well recently fell victim to the pre-holiday mood, including chip giant United Microelectronics and petrochemical giant Formosa Plastics.
UMC lost 1.6 percent to NT$31.00, while Formosa Plastics fell 1.7 percent to NT$56.50. UMC's larger competitor, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, finished unchanged at NT$67.50.
Makers of dynamic random access memory chips came in for profit-taking, after recent gains inspired by DRAM price rises, Tao said.
DRAM maker Winbond Electronics lost 1.1 percent to NT$17.40.
Strength in the New Taiwan dollar also damped sentiment, on concerns it might erode exporters' earnings, Tao said.
The New Taiwan dollar has been trading near three-month highs against the U.S. dollar, which is going through a period of general weakness on world foreign exchanged markets.
The island's currency traded at NT$33.712 to the U.S. dollar Tuesday morning. - AP
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