Sat, Oct 25, 2003 - Page 11 News List

TAIEX drops as investors wait for earnings reports

AP , TAIPEI

Stocks ended lower for a fourth straight session yesterday, on caution ahead of the final week for listed companies to announce their third-quarter earnings.

The TAIEX closed down 34.09 points, or 0.6 percent, at 5,918.14. For the week, the index declined 2.1 percent, the biggest since the period ended Aug. 8. The futures index added 0.2 percent to 5,958. Decliners outnumbered gainers 403 to 303, with 196 unchanged.

Trading totaled NT$78.92 billion (US$2.32 billion), down from Thursday's NT$94.24 billion (US$2.77 billion).

Flat-panel makers led the losses, with some investors concerned that strong demand for their products might fizzle out in the first quarter of next year.

"It's ahead of the [weekend], and there'll be a rally, so buyers didn't want to enter [the market]," said Jack Shih, an assistant vice president at Daiwa Securities SMBC-Cathay.

He added that some investors were a little cautious before the local earnings season enters its final week. Listed companies are required to report third-quarter results by the end of this month.

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) lost 1.6 percent to NT$48 despite market expectations that the company will report strong third-quarter earnings on Monday.

Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子) lost 1.8 percent to close at NT$43.70.

Formosa Chemicals & Fiber Corp (台塑化纖) tumbled 4.8 percent to NT$50, after saying it had shut a petrochemical plant due to a malfunction.

Investor caution may continue into next week, but the key index should be supported around 5,800, said Richard Ho, assistant manager at Shinkong Securities (新光證券).

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