Wed, Oct 01, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Stocks fall again, led by Cathay, Mega Financial

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Stocks fell for the fourth day yesterday, led by Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) and Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控), on concern government efforts to change the financial industry may be delayed after a political dispute.

The TAIEX shed 32.09, or 0.6 percent, to 5,611.41. The index lost 0.7 percent for the month, paring its gain this quarter to 15 percent. About 10 stocks gained for every nine that declined. The futures contract for October delivery fell 0.3 percent to 5,645.

About 2.4 billion shares changed hands, or 46 percent below the average in the past three months. Shares worth NT$50.5 billion were traded, the lowest in four months.

A dispute with the opposition over President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) plan to promulgate a new constitution by 2006 may set back laws to quadruple the size of a fund created to help banks dispose of about NT$1.2 trillion (US$35 billion) of bad loans, some investors said.

"Renewed political bickering over the new constitution in 2006 will delay the parliamentary review of reform bills that are much needed by financial companies," said Celine Chiang, a fund manager at Polaris International Securities Investment Trust Co (寶來投信).

Cathay Financial, the nation's largest financial company by market value, fell NT$1.20, or 2.7 percent, to NT$44. Mega Financial fell 30 cents, or 1.7 percent, to NT$17.40.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) closed steady at NT$66.50 as firmer ADRs and positive global semiconductor August sales reported by the Semiconductor Industry Association offset concerns over the government's plan to dispose of about 600 million shares in TSMC through an ADR issue next year.

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