■ Stocks close higher
Share prices closed 0.47 percent higher yesterday after bargain-hunting outweighed early falls driven by Wall Street's overnight weakness amid renewed interest rate concerns, dealers said.
The TAIEX closed up 29.96 points at 6,471.42, on turnover of NT$61.20 billion (US$1.86 billion).
"Recent light turnover signaled the potential for the market to bottom out going forward," said Tu Jin-lung (杜金龍), chairman of Grand Cathay Investment Services Corp (大華投顧). "Riding on the Wall Street-driven falls in early trade, investors hunted for bargains, including those going ex-dividend today."
Some investors began building portfolios when stock prices were diluted after going ex-dividend.
■ Philips-BenQ venture approved
Royal Philips Electronics NV secured antitrust approval to set up a data-storage venture with Taiwan's No. 1 cellphone maker BenQ Corp (明基), the European Commission announced in a statement yesterday.
The venture, in which Philips will hold a 51 percent stake and BenQ the rest, will cooperate on the development, manufacture and sale of optical data storage drives for personal computers.
■ Microsoft workers allowed in
The government yesterday gave the green light to 421 Chinese employees of Microsoft Corp to attend the software giant's regional meeting in Taipei later this month, but is still reviewing a mainland official's application to visit the nation.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs approved Microsoft's application for its 421 mainland staff to attend Microsoft's Greater China regional annual meeting, to be held on from the 20th to 27th of this month at the Taipei Sheraton Hotel.
In the past, Microsoft had to hold its regional annual meetings in China, Hong Kong or Macau, due to Taiwan's policy of allowing international companies to bring in only 30 Chinese staff at a time to attend meetings in Taiwan.
■ Beijing Sanyuan eyes Taiwan
Beijing Sanyuan Foods Co (北京三元食品), a Chinese partner of McDonald's Corp, said it has talked to local and overseas potential strategic investors including Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), the nation's biggest food company.
"The discussion with Uni-President has merely been an exchange of information and both parties have not entered actual negotiations," money-losing Sanyuan said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange yesterday. The statement denied a local media report that Uni-President has agreed to buy a 35 percent stake at 4 yuan per share.
Sanyuan, which produces and sells milk products, is one of Uni-President's potential partners, but "both sides haven't reached any concrete agreements," Uni-President spokeswoman Selina Wu (吳旭慧) said yesterday.
■ AIG acquires local firm
American International Group Inc (AIG) said yesterday that it has completed the acquisition of Taiwan-based Central Insurance Co (中央產險).
AIG subsidiary AIG Direct Marketing Co made the acquisition through a statutory share swap and now owns 100 percent of the company's shares, according to an AIG statement.
The AIG unit offered 1.71 preferred shares for each Central Insurance common share, in a transaction that valued the Tai-wanese firm at US$190 million.
■ NT dollar trades lower
The New Taiwan dollar traded lower against its US counterpart yesterday, declining NT$0.046 to close at NT$32.864 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.