Sat, May 24, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Optimism over US growth, SARS boosts shares

BLOOMBERG , TAIPEI

Stocks rose, led by Asustek Compu-ter Inc (華碩電腦) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), after a survey of economists boosted optimism that US growth will accelerate in the coming months.

Some investors also bought shares on optimism prices already reflect concern about SARS and the outbreak would soon be controlled.

"A recovery in the US economy provides a brighter outlook for Taiwan's exports in the second half of this year," said Simon Chao (趙永宏), who manages US$17 million at President Investment Trust Corp (統一投信).

"SARS is already under control in Hong Kong and Singapore, so it's likely that Taiwan will soon be able to control the outbreak," he said.

The TAIEX climbed 78.22, or 1.8 percent, to 4,349.52. Only 38 of the 608 stocks on the Taiwan Stock Exchange declined. Turnover was NT$58.45 billion (US$1.68 billion).

For the week, the index gained 1.5 percent as bargain hunting helped to offset the impact of SARS and appreciation of the NT dollars against the greenback.

The Taiwan Futures Index rose 2.3 percent to 4,340.

Asustek, the nation's largest computer motherboard manufacturer, rose NT$2.5, or 3.4 percent, to NT$76.50.

TSMC advanced NT$1.1, or 2.3 percent, to NT$49.10.

BenQ Corp (明基電通), the country's biggest mobile-phone maker, rose NT$0.80, or 2.2 percent, to NT$37.60 after chairman Lee Kun-yao (李焜耀) said sales will recover in the third quarter from a drop caused by SARS.

BenQ yesterday said second-quarter sales may slip 5 percent from its NT$23.4 billion forecast, dragged by a demand slump in China.

About a fifth of BenQ's revenue comes from China, the world's biggest market for handsets.

Macronix International Co (旺宏), the nation's No. 1 memory-chip maker for electronic games, rose NT$0.28, or 6.8 percent, to NT$4.40, ending a five-day plunge, after the company said it is financially sound.

In an e-mailed statement on Thursday Macronix said the fall in its share price was "unreasonable." Its hares plummeted more than a fifth to NT$4.12 yesterday, from NT$5.35 on May 16.

VIA Technologies Inc (威盛電子), the nation's second-largest designer of semiconductors, was unchanged at NT$41.20 after earlier falling as much as 1.5 percent.

Japan's Pioneer Corp, a maker of car audio equipment, will introduce a new DVD player in July using semiconductor chips made by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, ending its purchase of similar chips made by a unit of VIA Technologies, a local newspaper reported, citing unidentified VIA officials.

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