Sat, Dec 04, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Intel's sales forecast hike leads chipmakers higher

ROSIER OUTLOOK Taiwan Semiconductor, United Microelectronics and other tech firms gained after the US chip giant boosted its fourth quarter outlook


Stocks rose for a second day yesterday. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) gained after Intel Corp raised its fourth-quarter sales forecast on higher global demand. Asian technology stocks also gained, led by Tokyo Electron Ltd and Hynix Semiconductor Inc.

"Intel's figures affirmed computer-related demand is sound," said Eric Huang, a fund manager at Ta Chong Investment Trust Corp (大眾投信).

The TAIEX rose 25.32, or 0.4 percent, to 5,893.27. For the week, the benchmark gained 2 percent. About six stocks fell for every five that gained. Futures due next month rose 0.4 percent to 5,880.

TSMC, the world's largest made-to-order chipmaker, rose 1.9 percent to NT$48.90, while rival UMC rose 0.5 percent to NT$20.40.

Intel said sales will probably total US$9.3 billion to US$9.5 billion this quarter, exceeding its forecast last month of US$8.6 billion to US$9.2 billion.

The company also said higher demand will reduce its record US$3.2 billion stockpile of unsold chips.

Intel's forecast is "the best result you could ask for," said Takashi Kamiya, who oversees US$16 billion as head of global asset allocation at T&D Asset Management Co in Tokyo.

"It's a stock that can pull the entire market up," he said.

Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.9 percent to 11,074.89, bringing its weekly advance to 2.2 percent. Stock benchmarks in China, Thailand and India also rose, while other indexes in the region fell.

The market was closed in the Philippines for a holiday.

Intel is the first technology company to give a sales update after Thanksgiving, which kicks off the US holiday shopping season. The forecast may ease investors' concerns after Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, said yesterday that this month's same-store sales may rise as little as 1 percent.

"There's less pessimism about Christmas sales now that Intel revised its sales estimate," said Nobuki Goto, who helps manage the equivalent of US$14 billion at Tokio Marine Asset Management Co in Tokyo.

Tokyo Electron, the world's second-largest maker of semiconductor production equipment, jumped 3 percent to ?5,940.

Hynix Semiconductor, the world's second-largest maker of computer memory chips, climbed 2.9 percent to 10,650 won.

Tokyo Electron supplies chip-making equipment to Intel, while Hynix makes memory chips that work alongside Intel's processors.

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