Tue, May 20, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Asustek, Quanta lead decliners on GDP report

BLOOMBERG , TAIPEI

Stocks fell for a third day yesterday after the government said the nation's economy grew at its slowest pace in a year in the first quarter and cut its annual growth forecast as the SARS outbreak threatens travel, consumer spending, investment and exports.

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) and Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦) led declines.

The TAIEX dropped 27.97, or 0.7 percent, to 4,255.80. Almost four stocks fell for every one that advanced. The value of trade was NT$23.7 billion (US$683 million), the lowest level since Oct. 2, 2001.

The Taiwan Futures Index fell 0.5 percent to 4,239.

GDP grew 3.21 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier after expanding 4.22 percent in the fourth quarter, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said on Friday. The government also cut its full-year economic growth forecast to 2.89 percent from 3.68 percent.

Asustek Computer, the nation's largest computer-motherboard maker, fell NT$1, or 1.4 percent, to NT$72.

Quanta Computer, the country's largest notebook-computer make, declined 50 cents, or 0.8 percent, to NT$62.

"The rollout of new models of handsets and notebook computers may be delayed because of SARS," said James Tu (涂國華), who manages a fund worth the equivalent of US$23 million at President Investment Trust Corp (統一投信).

"The outbreak hasn't been effectively contained," he said.

China Airlines Co (華航) fell NT$0.05, or 0.4 percent, to NT$11.50. The carrier, reiterated a preliminary estimated reduction of NT$1.1 billion in sales in the second quarter after SARS curbed travel demand, according to the airlines' statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) slid NT$0.35, or 3.3 percent, to NT$10.30. It also reiterated its previous forecast that sales will slide 4 percent to NT$14.9 billion in the second quarter from the same period in the year earlier.

Grand Commercial Bank (萬通銀行) rose NT$0.35, or 3.9 percent, to NT$9.35.

The lender that's controlled by the nation's largest food company, Uni-President Group (統一集團), has hired Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc to advise it on a potential sale.

Potential buyers include Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) and Taishin Financial Holdings Co (台新金控), a local newspaper reported, citing no one.

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