US stocks dropped, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average to their lowest in more than two months, amid concern higher oil prices will crimp spending by companies and consumers. \nGeneral Electric Co led the decline as all 30 members of the Dow fell. Financial stocks including Citigroup Inc. contributed a quarter of the S&P 500's drop after securities executives said the industry may extend its slump. \nDiplomatic disputes with Iraq and North Korea and signs corporate profit growth is slowing also deterred investors. The S&P 500 and Dow are heading to their worst December since 1931, capping their first three-year losing streak in six decades. \n"There's a lot of news out there that sounds pretty bad," said Todd Trautman, who helps manage US$4 billion at First National Bank of Omaha. "It's a good opportunity for people to take some money off the table." \nHe has reduced his stake in consumer stocks including Newell Rubbermaid Inc. \nThe S&P 500 declined 14.26, or 1.6 percent, to 875.40, the lowest since Oct. 16. The Dow reached its lowest since Oct. 17, falling 128.83, or 1.5 percent, to 8,303.78. The NASDAQ Composite Index slid 19.58, or 1.4 percent, to 1,348.31. \nSo far this month, the S&P has dropped 6.5 percent and the Dow 6.7 percent. The NASDAQ has slumped 8.8 percent. \nToday, more than two stocks fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading totaled 757 million shares, half the daily six-month average and the second-slowest full session this year. Friday's was the slowest. \nHigher crude-oil prices hurt plastics and chemicals companies, which use oil as a raw material. The price of crude rose to US$32.76 a barrel, the highest since Nov. 30, 2000, in New York trading. Crude has gained 65 percent this year. \n"Everyone's been hoping it'd break and come down the other way, but it hasn't and that adds to the nervousness," said Donna Van Vlack, head trader at Brandywine Asset Management, which oversees US$8 billion in Wilmington, Delaware. \nGeneral Electric, whose plastics unit supplies the automotive and computer industries, shed US$0.60 to US$24.70. It was the biggest drag on the S&P 500. \nDow Chemical Co, the largest US chemical company, lost US$1.09 to US$29.11. Hercules Inc, the world's largest maker of chemicals for papermaking, slumped US$0.51 to US$8.67. \nFinancial-services companies declined after industry executives said there will be fewer bankers a year from now as Wall Street suffers from a two-year revenue plunge of 40 percent. \n"The odds are we've got another tough year ahead of us," Stephan Newhouse, co-president of Morgan Stanley's institutional securities business, said. \nCitigroup, the world's biggest financial company, dropped US$0.85 to US$35.17. For the week, it declined 7.8 percent, the most in the Dow. Costs to cover loan losses and legal settlements will shave its quarterly earnings by US$1.5 billion. \nMorgan Stanley declined US$1.35 to US$40.13. JP Morgan Chase & Co, which plans to cut stock options for most employees by more than half as a result of falling earnings, lost US$0.65 to US$23.80. Goldman Sachs Group Inc dropped US$1.63 to US$67.92. \n"They still need to cut costs," said Edward Maraccini, who helps manage US$500 million at Johnson Asset Management in Racine, Wisconsin. "That might mean another round of job cuts just so they can get leaner and more efficient." \nSecurities firms have pared 68,000 jobs in the US since the end of 2000. \nRetailers dropped on concern that rising oil prices may channel more of people's incomes into gasoline and fuel. Of the 30 companies in the S&P 500 Retailing Index, 26 fell. The index has lost 11 percent this month. \nWal-Mart Stores Inc, which this week said its December sales lagged forecasts, slipped 60 cents to US$49.16. Home Depot Inc, which last month reported its slowest quarterly growth in at least 12 years, shed US$0.42 to US$23.77. \nAmazon.com Inc fell US$1.44 to US$18.86. Even after slumping 14 percent the past two days, the biggest Internet retailer has gained 74 percent this year, the most in the NASDAQ 100. \nBroader indexes declined for a third week in four. The S&P 500 lost 2.3 percent this week, the Dow 2.4 percent, and the NASDAQ 1.1 percent. \nCorporate profits are expected to rise 13 percent in the fourth quarter and slow to 12 percent in the first quarter, according to the average analyst estimate complied by Thomson First Call. That's down from predictions of 20 percent and 16 percent growth for the periods on Oct. 1. \nUnocal Corp dropped US$1.53 to US$30.12. The second-largest US independent oil company cut its fourth-quarter profit forecast, saying oil and gas prices didn't rise as much as it expected. \nSilicon Storage Technology Inc shed US$0.26 to US$3.94. The maker of computer-memory chips said fourth-quarter losses will be wider than its previous estimate after prices for its products fell more than expected.
* The S&P 500 declined 14.26, or 1.6 percent, to 875.40.
* The Dow reached its lowest since Oct. 17, falling 128.83, or 1.5 percent, to 8,303.78.
* The NASDAQ Composite Index slid 19.58, or 1.4 percent, to 1,348.31.
Polytronics Technology Corp (聚鼎科技) yesterday announced that it is buying Henkel AG’s thermal clad dielectric material (TCLAD) business division for US$26 million as the Taiwanese firm aims to improve its technology, product portfolio and revenue performance. Polytronics, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區), is a supplier of protection components and heat dissipation materials. The firm entered the metallic heat-dissipation substrate market in 2007 and developed a unique solventless production process. Its board of directors approved signing an agreement with Henkel to acquire the German chemical firm’s TCLAD division in the US. The purchase includes all assets and business interests, including equipment,
SIZE MATTERS: Medium-sized hotels that do not have the support of parent groups are more vulnerable and are forced to take action, a REPro Knight Frank researcher said About 50 hotels across Taiwan are seeking to exit the market as they succumb to the bleak business outlook amid international travel restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Yomi Hotel (優美飯店) on Minsheng E Road, Sec 1, in Taipei is seeking to transfer ownership with an asking price of NT$950 million (US$32.15 million) and a pledge for a lease contract that guarantees a 3 percent return. The budget hotel, with room rates that start from NT$1,400 per night, maintains normal operations, but has been struggling since March, when the government placed restrictions on inbound and outbound travel. Occupancy rates for hotels in
With the US dollar expected to weaken in the next 12 months due to near-zero interest rates, investors should consider purchasing US corporate bonds, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Thursday. The bank said that the US Federal Reserve since last month has been buying bonds issued by US companies to curb default rates. The US dollar is forecast to be weaker against the pound, the euro and the yen, as well as the Canadian dollar, the Swedish krona and the Swiss franc, as the greenback lacks high investment returns after the Fed in March slashed the benchmark interest rate
‘SENSITIVE MARKETS’: The previously unannounced project would involve the company handing over control of data to a third party to sidestep privacy concerns Google has abandoned plans to offer a major new cloud service in China and other politically sensitive countries due in part to concerns over geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic, two employees familiar with the matter said, revealing the challenges for US tech giants to secure business in those markets. In May, the search giant shut down the initiative, known as “Isolated Region” and which sought to address nations’ desires to control data within their borders, the employees said. The action was considered a “massive strategy shift,” said one of the employees, who added that Isolated Region had involved hundreds of employees