One day after ending the six-day winning streak in which it collected more than 350 points or 7 percent, the Taiwan stock market rebounded right back into positive territory on Thursday. The Taiwan Stock Exchange has closed in positive territory in 12 of the last 14 trading days, cracking resistance at 5,650 points in the process for a fresh six-month high - and the market it tipped to move higher still on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly optimistic, with strong gains expected among the financial stocks after better than expected corporate results from banking giant Wells Fargo. Some solid economic news out of the United States adds to the positive sentiment. The European and U.S. markets finished sharply higher, and the Asian bourses are also expected to move significantly to the upside.
The TSE finished sharply higher on Thursday, with significant gains coming from the financial, textile, food and cement issues. The construction stocks also ended higher, as did the electronics, plastics and paper stocks.
For the day, the index surged 224.24 points or 4.11 percent to close at 5,667.80 after trading between 5,667.80 and 5,526.13. Volume was 7 billion shares worth 144.84 billion Taiwan dollars. There were 1,889 gainers and 320 decliners, with 52 stocks remaining unchanged.
Among the gainers, MediaTek rose by the 7.0 percent daily limit, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing rose 4.4 percent, Acer rose 6.1 percent, Formosa International Hotels rose 7 percent and Leofoo Development rose 5.2 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is fairly positive again as better sentiment toward the financial sector and encouraging economic news drove stocks substantially higher on Thursday, allowing Wall Street to close out the holiday-shortened week on a high note.
Strong preliminary results from Wells Fargo (WFC) gave hope that the financials were not a lost cause, and some better-than-expected economic data contributed to the improved sentiment. Wells Fargo released preliminary first quarter results that crushed what analysts were expecting. The company said it now expects to report first-quarter earnings of $3 billion or $0.55 per share compared to analyst estimates of $0.23 per share.
Additionally, Barclays plc (BCS) helped lead financials higher after the company announced an agreement for the sale of its iShares business to Blue Sparkle LP, a new limited partnership established by CVC Capital Partners Group SICAV-FIS S.A. The purchase price for the deal was about $4.4 billion.
In economic news, a report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell to 654,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 674,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 660,000 from the 669,000 originally reported for the previous week. However, the Labor Department also said that continuing claims rose to a new record high of 5.840 million in the week ended March 28th from the preceding week's revised level of 5.745 million.
Additionally, the Commerce Department said that the U.S. trade deficit narrowed to $26.0 billion in February from $36.2 billion in January. Economists had been expecting the trade deficit to come in at $36.0 billion.
The Dow finished the week above the 8,000 mark after a bout of profit-taking earlier in the week sparked doubt about the market's ability to hold this level. Trading is closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday. The Dow closed Thursday's trading higher by 246.27 or 3.14 percent at 8,083.38. The NASDAQ ended the session with a gain of 61.88 or 3.89 percent at 1,652.54 and the S&P 500 was up 31.40 points or 3.81 percent by the market close, at 856.56.
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