■ Share prices fall
Share prices closed 0.18 percent lower yesterday as weakness in technology stocks eroded early gains on Wall Street's firm showing overnight, dealers said.
They said the tourism sector outperformed the broader market after a report that China's National Tourism Administration will establish the China Tourism Association.
This was expected to pave the way for improved communications between Taipei and Beijing in cross-strait tourism development.
The TAIEX closed down 12.38 points at 6,721.08, on turnover of NT$81.52 billion (US$2.49 billion).
Analysts said lingering political worries at home also resulted in investors adopting a cautious approach ahead of the weekend.
These political concerns, coupled with the release of corporate earnings, should lead to consolidation next week, they added.
Decliners outnumbered gainers 695 to 333, with 127 stocks unchanged.
■ Tax head steps down
Lin Chi-chang (林吉昌), director-general of the Taxation Agency under the Ministry of Finance, abruptly applied for retirement on Wednesday citing health problems, he told reporters on his last day of work.
Lin, 61, was promoted to head the taxation agency two years ago. He has served in government posts for 39 years. The Cabinet has yet to announce possible candidates to take over the position.
Following his retirement, the finance ministry now sees two important director-generalships vacant.
Liu Teng-cheng (劉燈城), head of the ministry's National Treasury Agency, was promoted to administrative vice minister of finance on Wednesday, filling a vacancy left by Gordon Chen (陳樹), who last week was appointed chairman of the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp.
■ Inotera denies mishap rumor
Shares of Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技), which makes memory chips used in computers, declined on speculation that the company had an accident that affected production. The company's president denied there was any mishap.
The stock slid 3 percent, the largest fall in more than a month, to close at N$32.5 in Taipei. The share price fell as much as 6.6 percent during the day. Trading volume was 51.9 million shares, the largest since it listed on March 17 this year.
"Nothing is going on" and no wafers have been lost, Inotera president Charles Kau (高啟全) said in a telephone interview.
Inotera will see production this month drop 7 percent from last month because the company is shifting to more advanced 90-nanometer manufacturing technology from 110-nanometer, Kau said.
■ Ministry supports business bid
The Ministry of Economic Affairs will support Taiwan's bid to host the 2008 International Small Business Congress (ISBC) now that Britain has reportedly given up the right to host the annual event, Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said yesterday.
Chen made the remarks after visiting Lin Ping-pin (林秉彬), president of the National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (中小企業協會).
Lin said Taiwan is important in the ISBC and that if Taiwan can host the 2008 meeting, it will help raise the nation's profile as well as promote exchanges with other countries.
During the meeting, Chen also promised Lin to help solve financing and labor shortage problems facing small and medium-sized businesses, as well as to help them in innovation and research and development.
■ NT loses on greenback
The New Taiwan dollar weakened against its US counterpart yesterday, declining NT$0.04 to close at NT$32.667 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.