Stocks fell, led by Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), after the government yesterday ordered banks to block customers with fever or flu-like symptoms from entering their branches to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
``Taiwan is having difficulty controlling the spread of SARS,'' said Simon Chao (趙永宏), who manages US$17 million at President Investment Trust Corp (統一投信).
"Investors are getting panicky and started dumping shares at a alarming rate," he said.
The TAIEX fell 52.25, or 1.2 percent, to 4,148.07. The benchmark shed 4 percent this month, its third monthly decline. MSCI Taiwan futures for May delivery in Singapore shed 1.1 percent to 178.50. The Taiwan Futures Index fell 1.4 percent to 4,135.
Fubon fell NT$0.90, or 3.6 percent, to NT$23.80.
Cathay Financial lost NT$0.80, or 2 percent, to NT$38.90.
Separately, 10 companies will be added to the Morgan Stanley Capital International Inc indexes, while six will be removed, the index compiler said.
Eva Airways Corp (
Mediatek Inc. rose as much as 3.5 percent to NT$285. The two stocks will be added to the MSCI indexes from May 31.
Acer Inc was unchanged at NT$31.70 after falling as much as 1 percent. Profit in the first quarter plunged 84 percent to NT$660 million from a year ago, the company said in a statement. Sales, though, climbed to NT$13 billion from NT$5.4 billion a year ago.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (
Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠) fell NT$1, or 3.2 percent, to NT$30.20 after it said first-quarter profit fell 25 percent because its computer-memory chip making unit turned to a loss. Net income dropped to NT$3.55 billion in the first three months of 2003 from NT$4.72 billion a year ago, according to the company's statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Sales rose 22 percent to NT$28.6 billion.
Computer-notebook maker Quanta Computer Inc (
Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (台積電) gained NT$2.7, or 6 percent, to NT$47.80. The company yesterday forecast prices, shipments of silicon wafers and factory usage will increase in the current quarter.