Core Pacific-Yamaichi International, a Taiwanese-controlled brokerage, said first-quarter net profit doubled, thanks to more Hong Kong buyers trading stocks listed on the island amid thin market turnover in the city. Liu Dar-by, an executive director and chief executive at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International, said profit was HK$50 million in the first quarter on a sharp jump in the brokerage's commission earned from clients trading Taiwan stocks. 'Hong Kong people only started trading Taiwan stocks early this year. The sector [was] not active at all before the presidential election,' Mr Liu said. Airlines, shipping and finance stocks were more popular with Hong Kong investors, as they bet those sectors would be the primary beneficiaries once president-elect Ma Ying-jeou takes office next Thursday, he said. Mr Ma has promised to establish closer ties with the mainland to improve Taiwan's economy. Mr Liu expects more Hong Kong investors to look at the Taiwan stock market in the third quarter. At present, commissions from Taiwan stocks account for about 25 per cent of turnover at Core Pacific-Yamaichi's brokerage operation with the remainder from Hong Kong and the United States, he said. The volatile Hong Kong stock market also prompted investors to seek alternative investment during the first quarter, Mr Liu said. Hit by poor sentiment arising from the subprime crisis in the US, the Hang Seng Index fell 17.85 per cent in the first three months, its worst quarter since 2001. However, Taiwan's weighted index jumped 24 per cent during the same period. Mr Liu expected more Taiwanese firms to tap Hong Kong's equity markets as a fund-raising channel to expand in coming years.