Wed, May 21, 2003 - Page 11 News List

TAIEX falls for fourth straight day

BAD ENVIRONMENT The country's second-largest maker of boards that connect chips in PCs, Elitegroup, may report a drop in its second-quarter shipments

BLOOMBERG , TAIPEI

Stocks fell for a fourth day. Elitegroup Computer Systems Co (精英電腦), the nation's second-largest maker of boards that connect the chips in personal computers, slid on a local newspaper report that second-quarter shipments may drop.

The TAIEX shed 4.21, or 0.1 percent, to 4,251.59, after sliding as much as 1.5 percent in intra-day trading. Declining and rising shares were about even.

About NT$28.1 billion (US$810 million) in shares changed hands, 40 percent less than the daily average in the past three months.

The spread of SARS has dampened trading, reduced consumer spending and may also deter business people from visiting Taiwan's trade shows and factories.

"The SARS problem is not resolved and I really can't see any obvious signs of an economic rebound," said Simon Lu, who helps manage the equivalent of US$2.3 billion of bonds and equities under Entrust Securities Investment Trust Co (永昌投信).

Electronics stocks account for about half of his equity holdings, he said.

The Conference Board's index of leading US economic indicators, a gauge of how the world's largest economy will perform in the next three to six months, rose 0.1 percent last month. The increase suggests the economy will be slow to strengthen following the war with Iraq, some economists said.

The Taiwan Futures Index lost 0.2 percent to 4,232.

Elitegroup declined NT$0.60, or 1.7 percent, to NT$35.60.

Elitegroup's shipments might fall as much as 24 percent in the second quarter from the first, a local newspaper reported, citing unidentified analysts.

"The entire market is lacking confidence," said Kevin Huang, who helps manage the equivalent of US$38 million in Taiwan equities at Reliance Securities Investment Trust Co (德信投信).

BenQ Corp (明基電通) fell NT$0.10, or 0.3 percent, to NT$36.70. The nation's largest mobile-phone maker lowered its second-quarter sales estimate because of a decline in demand, stoking concern other companies may also cut expectations.

BenQ's second-quarter sales may fall by as much as 2 percent from NT$23.3 billion in the first quarter because SARS trimmed demand in the China region, the company said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.

Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) dropped NT$0.20, or 0.9 percent, to NT$21.70. The flat-panel display maker said it plans to sell 1 billion new shares to fund expansion.

Mega Financial Holdings Co (兆豐金控) rose NT$0.10, or 0.7 percent, to NT$15.60. It sold US$190 million of bonds exchangeable into shares it owns in rival Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控).

Taiwan Styrene Monomer Corp (台苯) rose NT$0.20, or 0.8 percent, to NT$26.80 after the weekly price of styrene monomer, a chemical used to make polyesters and protective coatings, increased by as much as US$40 per tonne yesterday, helped by inventory top-up in China and recovering demand, a local newspaper reported.

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