Tue, Apr 01, 2003 - Page 11 News List

TAIEX drops for its 3rd quarter in four

BLOOMBERG , TAIPEI

Stocks fell for the third quarter in four. China Airlines Co (華航) dropped after the government placed about 500 people under home quarantine to curb the spread of a deadly respiratory disease.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world's largest maker of computer chips on a subcontracting basis, declined. A Canadian client canceled plans to visit this week to unveil a new product because of the disease, according to a Chinese-language newspaper.

"The disease has spread fears beyond the airlines -- more and more businesses will cancel their activities in this region," said Karen Chang (張馨文), who manages the equivalent of US$23 million for the Balance Fund at International Investment Trust Co (國際投信).

The TAIEX lost 155.79, or 3.5 percent, to close at 4321.22. It was the benchmark's biggest drop since Feb. 6 and its sixth decline in seven days. For the quarter, the index fell 2.9 percent.

MSCI Taiwan futures for April delivery in Singapore shed 4.4 percent to 181.90. The Taiwan Futures Index slid 3.8 percent to 4286. Only 39 of the index's 609 stocks gained.

Exporters such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) and Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) also declined on concern the war in Iraq may delay a recovery in consumer and business spending. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 4.4 percent last week, its biggest weekly decline since the period ended Jan. 24.

At least 1,550 people in more than a dozen countries worldwide have been infected with the disease and 54 people have died from it, the World Health Organization reported. The local Center for Disease Control ordered people who were onboard contaminated flights, medical workers and others who have come in contact with the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, to stay at home.

China Airlines, which counts Hong Kong among its most profitable routes, fell NT$0.90, or 7 percent, to NT$12.00. EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空), China Air's largest rival, tumbled NT$0.75, or 6.8 percent, to NT$10.25.

TSMC dropped NT$2.10, or 4.7 percent, to NT$42.30. Executives of ATI Technologies Inc, an Ontario-based computer-graphic chipmaker, reportedly canceled the trip because of the disease.

Hon Hai Precision, a computer cable connector maker, fell NT$4.50, or 3.9 percent, to NT$110.50. Quanta Computer, the country's largest notebook-computer maker, dropped NT$4, or 6.2 percent, to NT$61.00.

China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控), the nation's fourth-largest financial holding company by market value, fell NT$0.60, or 4.5 percent, to NT$12.65. China Development said it plans to sell NT$25 billion (US$719 million) of bonds this year.

China Development will seek approval from the Ministry of Finance for the sale, the proceeds of which will help fund its lending, investment and other capital requirements, the company said in a statement on March 28, without elaborating.

First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), fell NT$0.70, or 3.2 percent, to NT$21.10. First Financial on March 28 said it will acquire National Investment Trust Co (建弘投信) and unlisted Mingtai Fire & Marine Insurance Co (明台產險) through a share swap. National Investment rose NT$0.50.

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