Ahead of the long weekend break for New Year’s day, the Taiwan stock market had finished higher in back-to-back trading days, advancing more than 260 points or 1.9 percent along the way. The Taiwan Stock Exchange now sits just above the 14,730-point plateau although it may run out of steam on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed thanks to ongoing coronavirus concerns and apprehension about the U.S. political scene as Republicans continue to try to overturn results of the presidential election. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.
The TSE finished modestly higher on Thursday as gains from the technology stocks were tempered by mixed performances from the financials and cement companies.
For the day, the index added 44.83 points or 0.31 percent to finish at 14,732.53 after trading between 14,646.33 and 14,760.06.
Among the actives, Cathay Financial collected 0.12 percent, while Mega Financial shed 0.33 percent, CTBC Financial slid 0.25 percent, Fubon Financial lost 0.32 percent, E Sun Financial sank 0.58 percent, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company advanced 0.95 percent, United Microelectronics Corporation tanked 2.38 percent, Hon Hai Precision added 0.44 percent, Largan Precision dropped 0.93 percent, MediaTek rose 0.13 percent, Formosa Plastic fell 0.31 percent, Asia Cement rose 0.12 percent, Taiwan Cement eased 0.12 percent and Catcher Technology and First Financial were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street offers little guidance as stocks showed a lack of direction on Thursday before finally moving higher to end in the green.
The Dow climbed 196.88 points or 0.65 percent to finish at 30,606.48, while the NASDAQ rose 18.28 points or 0.14 percent to end at 12,888.28 and the S&P 500 gained 24.03 points or 0.64 percent to close at 3,756.07.
The gains capped off a strong year for U.S. stocks, which moved sharply higher in 2020 despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
For the year, the Dow jumped 7.3 percent, the S&P 500 surged 16.3 percent and the tech-heavy NASDAQ skyrocketed 43.6 percent – benefitting from the stay-at-home orders issued in response to the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report unexpectedly showing a modest drop in first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits in the week ended December 26.
Crude oil futures settled modestly higher on Thursday despite concerns about the outlook for energy demand. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for February rose $0.12 or 0.3 percent at $48.52 a barrel. WTI Crude oil futures lost 21 percent in 2020, while Brent crude futures tumbled more than 22 percent.
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