■ Shares follow Dow, rise
Shares closed 0.81 percent higher yesterday, with investors taking their cue from the Dow Jones setting another record high on Wall Street overnight and lower oil prices, dealers said.
The TAIEX closed up 57.16 points at 7,097.42, on turnover of NT$88.13 billion (US$2.65 billion). Risers led decliners 565 to 507, with 205 stocks unchanged.
"Investors were apparently betting on Wall Street extending its rally as the resumed decline in oil prices must further justify the US Fed's keeping interest rates unchanged again," said an analyst with a leading local house who requested anonymity.
The Federal Open Market Committee was due to meet later yesterday to decide on interest rates.
■ CPC lowers gasoline price
State-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油) announced yesterday it would drop wholesale gasoline price by NT$0.7 per liter, and diesel price by NT$0.8 per liter, to reflect the falling crude oil prices. The new rates went into effective from midnight today.
After the adjustment, the retail prices for 98-octane unleaded gasoline is NT$27.8, 95-octane unleaded gasoline is NT$26.3, 92-octane unleaded gasoline is NT$25.6 and top-grade diesel oil is NT$22.3 per liter, CPC said.
The retail prices are calculated by the fluctuation of benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude over the past week in New York trade, and then added tax, the company said.
■ Oncidium business blooms
The export value of Taiwan's oncidium -- a species of orchid -- exceeded US$7 million last year, with agriculture officials predicting booming exports in the years to come, a Council of Agriculture (COA) official said yesterday.
According to statistics compiled by the Agriculture and Food Agency, Taiwan exported 1,103 metric tonnes of oncidiums last year, with the US and Japan its primary markets.
The official said Taiwan's climate is highly suitable for cultivating oncidiums, with 190 hectares of land around the nation dedicated to growing them. The main production areas are located in Pingtung, Taichung, Nantou, Tainan, Yunlin and Chiayi counties.
Encouraged by prosperous export orders, oncidium growers are now focusing their attention on markets in China and Canada, the official added.
■ Corning still on in Taiwan
Corning Inc, -- the world's biggest maker of glass for liquid-crystal displays -- said it will continue investing in Taiwan even as flat-screen makers slow expansion.
"Our plans are on track with our Taichung expansion, we're not slowing down our investment," said Lee Shao-kang (李紹康), spokesman for the company's Taipei-based unit, Corning Display Technologies Taiwan.
The Economic Daily yesterday reported that Corning had made the decision to freeze expansion in Taichung after local display panel makers delayed construction of next-generation plants.
The Chinese-language newspaper didn't cite sources.
Corning will invest a total of US$1.5 billion in expansion in Taiwan, Lee said. The company also has a facility in Tainan, Lee said.
■ NT falls to near low
The NT dollar fell for a fifth day to near a low for the year on concerns that slowing exports will hurt growth.
The NT declined NT$0.032 to close at NT$33.308 against the US currency, according to Taipei Forex Inc. The currency fell to NT$33.34 on Oct. 12, the weakest since December.
Turnover was US$772 million.