Taiwan shares end down Friday

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan shares ended slightly lower Friday as investors remained concerned over the technology sector's performance in the second half of the year, analysts said. 

The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange finished down 14.11 points, or 0.3 percent, at 5,373.85 in dealings valued at 52.04 billion New Taiwan dollars (US$1.53 billion). 

However, advancers outnumbered decliners 416 to 263, while 255 issues ended the day unchanged. 

Although the U.S. market rebounded overnight, "investors have been turning conservative on techs' second half for some time now, especially toward flat panel stocks,'' said Daniel Hsin, an analyst at Capital Securities in Taipei. 

AU Optronics, the world's third-largest maker of thin-film-transitor liquid crystal displays, finished 0.3 percent higher at NT$40.4. 

The company said Thursday it would be willing to trim production if necessary, providing some short-lived relief for investors worried about LCD oversupply.  

As Friday's session progressed, however, pessimism grew that there would be an industrywide cut in output, raising worries of a difficult third quarter, analysts said. 

"Investors returned to their conservative stance on the tech sector's second half,'' Hsin said. 

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, the world's largest contract chipmaker, dropped 1.2 percent to NT$42.8.  

Its smaller rival, United Microelectronics, was flat at NT$21.5. 

"Selling pressure on the two blue chips wasn't intense, so if they can defend their current levels, the bourse has a good chance of bottoming out soon,'' said Andrew Teng, a deputy sales manager at Taiwan International Securities. 

The finance subindex fell 0.9 percent. Chinatrust Financial ended down 3.6 percent at NT$32 and Mega Financial dropped 1 percent to NT$20.9. 

China Steel closed 1.1 percent higher at NT$29.5 and was one of the most actively traded stocks.  

Shares in Taiwan's largest steel maker rose on expectations that the company will benefit from an increase in steel demand in China despite Beijing's measures to rein in rapid economic growth, analysts said. 

Hsin said he expects the index to stay in its present range until August, when local companies wrap up the release of their earnings figures for the second quarter.Markets in the United States would play a key role in determining the performance of Taiwan's index in the near future, Hsin said. 

"Until more market-moving news emerges, Taiwan shares will continue to track the U.S. market,'' he said. - AP 

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