■ Investors take cautious stance
Share prices closed 0.4 percent lower in thin trade yesterday after early gains driven by Wall Street's overnight rebound gave way to caution ahead of the long Lunar New Year holiday break, dealers said. The TAIEX lost 25.66 points at 6,486.63, on turnover of NT$81.01 billion (US$2.52 billion). "Local technology stocks in early trade were encouraged by the rally on Wall Street but investors [later] preferred the sidelines, with just a few days left before the Lunar New Year holidays," Kevin Chung (鐘國忠), deputy manager at Jih Sun Securities Investment Consulting Co (日盛投顧) said. Investors were also reluctant to adopt an aggressive stance ahead of an expected Cabinet reshuffle, with higher oil prices and the corporate results season additional reasons for a non-commital stance.
■ FSC boss may face summons
Taipei District Court said yesterday that it may consider summoning Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Chairman Kong Jaw-sheng (龔照勝) to help clear up the illegal insider-trading case in which a former high-ranking FSC official is involved, Chinese-language newswire ETtoday reported. In response, the commission said it needs to have further knowledge of the matter and will respond after receiving official documents from the district court, the Central News Agency reported, citing an unnamed commission member. Lee Chin-chen (李進誠), the former director-general of the commission's Examination Bureau, was charged last October and may face an eight-year jail sentence for his alleged leaking of confidential information about a government probe into Power Quotient International Co (勁永國際) to an investor who profited from the information.
■ Taiwanese invest less in PRC
Taiwan approved US$6,006.95 million-worth of investment in China in 2005, down 13.45 percent from the previous year, the Investment Commission reported yesterday. Ministry of Economic Affairs officials said that most of the investment focused on the small-scale wholesale and retail sectors, as well as eateries. There were 941 investment projects worth under US$200,000 approved in 2005, worth a total of US$90.37 million. In terms of region, the investment focused mostly on Jiangxu (56.05 percent), Guangdong (20.31 percent) and Zhejiang (8.07 percent) Provinces. In terms of sector, most investment went to electrical and electronic manufacturing (39.89 percent), basic metal manufacturing (10.73 percent) and precision instrument manufacturing (6.21 percent).
■ PC sales show dramatic rise
Personal computer sales in the Asia-Pacific region grew at their fastest pace in five years in 2005 with 41.1 million units sold on the back of lower prices, the International Data Corp (IDC) said yesterday. The 18 percent growth from 2004 was driven by demand for notebook computers, with sales posting double-digit increases in the region's key markets outside of Japan, IDC said. Sales are expected to grow by at least 13 percent this year, it added. For desktop PCs, most regional markets also posted growth, except for New Zealand and Taiwan where sales fell 10 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
■ NT dollar rises
The New Taiwan dollar traded higher against its US counterpart Friday, rising NT$0.015 to close at NT$32.125 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$979 million.