■ Stocks fall on profit-taking
Share prices closed 0.9 percent higher yesterday, as profit-taking capped early gains driven by the overnight rally on Wall Street and strong gains around the region, dealers said.
The weighted index closed up 64.21 points at 7,184.65, after moving between 7,180.75 and 7,219.06, on turnover of NT$108.16 billion (US$3.28 billion).
Although political concerns appeared to have been set aside for now, investors remained wary of any subsequent developments in the indictment of President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) wife, Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍), and several presidential aides on corruption and forgery charges, they said.
"Wall Street's lead came in time to inspire further bargain-hunting on the local market," said Daniel Tseng (曾建銓), a manager at Fubon Securities Investment Services (富邦投顧).
■ Gas prices rising
The state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油) announced yesterday that it would hike wholesale gasoline prices by NT$0.4 per liter and diesel prices for NT$0.5 per liter to reflect rising crude prices. The new rates went into effect at midnight.
The adjusted retail prices for 98-octane unleaded gasoline is NT$28.5, 95-octane unleaded gasoline is NT$27, 92-octane unleaded gasoline is NT$26.3 and top-grade diesel oil is NT$23.1 per liter, the CPC said in a statement released yesterday.
■ FSC relaxes rules
The Financial Supervisory Commission yesterday announced it would relax regulations on block trading and introduce a trade matching system after Taiwan again failed to earn a market rating upgrade from the UK index compiler FTSE in September.
"We hope to keep up with international practices through relaxation step by step," commission spokesperson Susan Chang (張秀蓮) told reporters yesterday.
The relaxation for block trading includes lengthening the trading timeframe to 20 minutes during the stock exchange session from 10 minutes, widening the price fluctuation range to 3.5 percent from 2 percent, and extending settlements to two days of transactions.
The commission's new matching system allows sellers to hand over a block of stocks or portfolios to buyers outside of the exchange session without being intercepted by third parties.
■ UMC sales up over 2005
United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) said yesterday its sales last month fell 2.0 percent to NT$9.05 billion from NT$9.23 billion in September.
But it added sales were up 0.13 percent year-on-year.
Sales for the 10 months to October rose to NT$87.04 billion from NT$72.35 billion in the same period a year earlier, the world's second-largest wafer foundry said.
At a recent investor conference, UMC said it expected wafer shipments in the current quarter to fall between 2 percent and 3 percent from the third quarter, with the average selling price likely to fall between 5 percent and 6 percent.
■ New plants for Powerchip
The nation's largest memory-chip maker, Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), plans to invest NT$60 billion in two new plants for making 12-inch wafers, it was reported yesterday.
Construction of the plants in Hsinchu may begin next year, chairman Frank Huang (黃崇仁) was quoted by the Economic Daily News as saying.
The new capacity would be used for making flash memory chips, he said.
The company already has three 12-inch-wafer plants in Hsinchu.
Powerchip's plans also envision three new plants in Taichung City, one of which is due to start mass production soon.