■ Profit-taking wipes out gains
Shares closed 0.31 percent lower yesterday as profit-taking wiped out early gains on a technical rebound driven by Wall Street's resumption of a record-setting run, dealers said.
Electronic stocks came under pressure after the NASDAQ sustained its weakness overnight, while sentiment was also dampened by the ongoing probe into alleged irregularities in Chinatrust Financial Holding Co's (中信金控) bid for Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控), they said.
The TAIEX closed down 21.77 points at 6,995.83, on turnover of NT$69.16 billion (US$2.08 billion).
Decliners led risers 615 to 458, with 194 stocks unchanged.
Chinatrust Financial was down NT$0.35 at NT$24.80. Mega Financial shed NT$0.50 to NT$22.95 after a senior company official reportedly forecast a 12 percent decline in the firm's net profit this year.
■ Insurance proposal vetoed
The proposed raise of the overseas investment ceiling of insurance companies' working funds failed to pass its first reading in the legislature yesterday, due to lawmakers' concerns over possible huge capital outflows that could devitalize the nation's capital markets.
In the proposed amendments to the Insurance Law (保險法), the overseas investment ceiling that was originally capped at 35 percent of more than NT$6 trillion is raised to 50 percent.
The relaxation was meant to allow local insurance firms to pursue better return as overseas investment often provides higher yields.
However, the rise of the 15 percent tranche could lead to outflow of funds amounting to NT$900 billion that could pose a grave threat to local capital markets, lawmakers worried.
■ Dell loses ground to Acer
Dell Inc, the world's biggest maker of personal computers, ceded its position as the second-largest supplier in Europe to Acer Inc in the third quarter, according to market researcher Gartner Inc.
Personal-computer shipments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa rose 10 percent in the period from a year earlier, Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner said in a statement yesterday, without giving shipment figures. Fujitsu Siemens Computers Holding BV is the region's biggest computer vendor.
``Vendor performances'' in the region ``are beginning to be polarized,'' Gartner said.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell ``has underperformed the market for the first time ever and marginally lost their second spot.''
■ Service sector workforce to grow
The government aims to increase the service sector workforce to 6.33 million by 2009, with the goal of the sector contributing NT$10.3 trillion to the country's GDP in that year, a Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) official said at an international conference on the service sector yesterday.
According to MOEA chief secretary Ou Chia-jui (歐嘉瑞), the production value of the service sector now accounts for 73 percent of GDP, and the government will work to enhance the sector's contribution to GDP.
Last year, the service sector had a total of 5.79 million workers and contributed NT$8.2 trillion to GDP, Ou said.
Through the support of the financial, telecommunications, information, digital content, medical, research and development, design and popular culture industries, the service sector's contribution to GDP is expected to expand to NT$10.3 trillion by 2009, he said.
■ NT dollar weakens further
The New Taiwan dollar weakened against its US counterpart yesterday, declining NT$0.019 to close at NT$33.199 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.