RTTNews - The Taiwan stock market shed just a handful of points on Friday, but that was enough to bring an end to the three-day winning streak that had seen it gather more than 260 points or 4.1 percent in the process. The Taiwan Stock Exchange is holding support at 6,660 points, although investors say that the market could ease barely through that level at the opening of trade on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets provides little in the way of guidance, especially with no lead from Wall Street as the U.S. bourses were closed on Friday in observance of Independence Day. With the absence of any fresh data, many investors are expected to remain on the sidelines - especially with Q2 earnings season kicking off later this week. The European markets finished slightly lower on Friday, and the Asian markets are expected to track flat to mildly negative.

The TSE finished barely lower on Friday, but recovered from sharper losses at the opening of trade. Weakness among the technology stocks was largely offset by gains in among the financial issues.

For the day, the index was down 2.13 points or 0.03 percent to finish at 6,665.40 on turnover of 113.04 billion Taiwan dollars. There were 1,152 decliners and 1,004 gainers, with 195 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the decliners, Hon Hai Precision shed 2.39 percent, while United Microelectronics Corp lost 1.77 percent and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co was down 0.18 percent.

Bucking the trend, Acer gained 1.84 percent, while Quanta Computer was 1.90 percent higher, E Sun Financial added 6.67 percent, Chinatrust Financial gained 4.60 percent, Mega Financial jumped 1.51 percent, EVA Airways was up 1.12 percent and China Airlines added 1.47 percent.

The lead from the European markets is mildly negative as markets fell in light volume for the second straight day on Friday, as a report showed Eurozone retail sales dropped more than expected in May and mining stocks edged lower after copper prices declined. Eurozone retail sales fell 0.4 percent month-on-month in May following a revised increase of 0.1 percent in April, data released by the Eurostat showed. Economists had expected a drop of just 0.1 percent.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.06 percent lower at 842.52 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.06 percent to 2,077.28 points. Around Europe, Germany's DAX index fell 0.22 percent to 4,708.21, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.05 percent to 4,236.28 and France's CAC 40 index surged up 0.10 percent to 3,119.51.

Metro, Germany's biggest retailer, slipped 2.5 percent, as European retail sales dropped more than economists estimated. BHP Billiton, the world's biggest miner, fell 1.4 percent, while Anglo American, the second biggest, declined 1.2 percent and Rio Tinto, the third biggest, slipped 2.2 percent. EDF, Europe's biggest power producer, dropped 4.5 percent after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight.

On the other hand, banking stocks were among the top gainers. HSBC, Europe's largest bank, rose 1.7 percent, while Royal Bank of Scotland, Britain's second largest bank, climbed 2.3 percent and Barclays, Britain's third largest bank, surged up 2.7 percent. BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, gained 2 percent and Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, added 1.7 percent.

In economic news, Taiwan is on Monday scheduled to announce June figures for its consumer and wholesale price indices. Inflation is expected to retreat 1.5 percent on year following the 0.08 percent annual contraction in May. WPI is called lower by 14.44 percent on year after falling an annual 13.45 percent in the previous month.

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