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Taiwan: Stock index rises above 10,000 for first time in 17 years

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[TAIPEI] Taiwan's benchmark stock index closed above the 10,000 level for the first time since the peak of the dot-com bubble as foreign investors chased a global rally in technology shares.

Net inflows into Taiwan equities have swelled to more than US$15 billion in the past 12 months, the most among 10 Asian markets tracked by Bloomberg outside of China. Apple Inc suppliers, such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, have been favourite targets amid optimism over demand for the next iPhone.

Along with equities, the island's currency has also surged. The Taiwan dollar has jumped 7.7 per cent against the greenback in the past year, the most among regional peers. While that poses a threat to an economy reliant on exports, Taiwan has weathered the impact so far. Orders for outbound shipments jumped 12 per cent in March from a year earlier.

"Apple is a driver to Taiwan stocks to breach the 10,000 mark," said David Lu, Taipei-based vice president at Hua Nan Securities Co.

Market voices on:

"Fundamentals will continue to improve in the second half."

The Taiex rose 0.3 per cent to 10,001.48 at the close on Thursday, taking its gain for the year to more than 8 per cent. Optoelectronic and semiconductor shares have been among the leaders on the benchmark over the past 12 months.

TSMC provided the biggest boost to Taiwan's benchmark on Thursday as it traded at a record price. The island's most valuable company is now worth US$178 billion. Apple this week became the first US company with a market capitalisation of more than US$800 billion.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co closed unchanged for a second day as investors wait for its first-quarter earnings, which must be filed by May 15. The iPhone assembler fell short of estimates for sales in the first quarter.