Institutional investors in Hong Kong are looking with interest at Taiwan stocks ahead of President-elect Ma Ying-jeou assuming office on Tuesday, the South China Morning Post reported. The island’s stock market has struggled in recent years due to a crisis of confidence among investors sparked by Taipei’s frosty relations with Beijing. Taiwan’s benchmark index stands at about 8,000 points, a long way from its peak of 12,000 several years ago. However, the index has risen by 12% so far in 2008, partly as a result of Ma’s keenness to ease restrictions on mainland tourists, trade and investment entering Taiwan. Emboldened by the presence of Hong Kong brokers and fund managers, experts believe the stock market will reach anything from 9,500 points to 13,000 by the end of the year. Wu Poh-hsiung, Ma’s successor as chairman of the Kuomintang party, begins a six-day visit to the mainland on Saturday.