Thu, Feb 01, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Shares drop on market losses

Shares closed 0.52 percent lower yesterday after early buying encouraged by Wall Street's moderate overnight rise lost steam amid losses in major markets across the region, dealers said.

Cautious investors kept to the sidelines ahead of the US Federal Reserve Board's decision on interest rates, they said.

The TAIEX closed down 40.27 points at 7,699.64 on turnover of NT$91.56 billion (US$2.77 billion).

Decliners outnumbered gainers 943 to 267, with 179 stocks unchanged.

"The local bourse took note of the declines in some Asian markets this morning," said Johnny Lee, a manager with President Securities Corp (統一證券).

"The fall in China's markets, for instance, negatively affected sentiment here toward Taiwan firms with China presences," Lee said.

■ SMIC posts profit

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯), China's biggest chipmaker, posted a fourth-quarter profit after asset sales compensated for a loss in the company's main business.

Net income was US$1.2 million, or US$0.33 per American depositary share, compared to a net loss of US$15 million, or US$0.04 per share, a year earlier, the Shanghai-based chipmaker said yesterday in a statement on its Web site.

Overall SMIC sales rose 15 percent in the fourth quarter and the company realized a gain of US$41.7 million from the sale of machinery and equipment, the statement said.

The chipmaker posted an operating loss that was bigger than analysts expected after a slowdown in client orders on the back of falling sales of cellphones and consumer electronics.

■ Hynix profits jump

South Korea's Hynix Semiconduc-tor, the world's second-largest memory chipmaker, said yesterday its profit jumped in the fourth quarter thanks in part to Micro-soft's launch of its new Windows Vista system.

Net profit rose by 36 percent year-on-year to 1.04 trillion won (US$1.1 billion) in the period from October to December last year, nearly tripling from 390 billion won in the previous quarter, Hynix said.

Quarterly operating profit rose 64 percent year-on-year to 853 billion won on sales of 2.6 trillion won, up 48 percent.

"Demand was especially strong from PCs as more Vista-ready PCs were sold while supply was still tight," the company said in a statement.

There was also added demand for the NAND flash memory chips widely used in mobile handsets and MP3 players, it said.

Hynix reported 2.06 trillion won in net profit for the whole of last year, up 11 percent from 1.86 trillion won in 2005.

■ Investment target increased

The government has set a goal of attracting 11.44 percent more private investment for this year for a total of around NT$1 trillion, Ministry of Economic Affairs officials said on Tuesday.

According to tallies released by the ministry, the goal of attracting NT$903.2 billion in new private investment projects last year was fulfilled with a 102.7 percent achievement rate, or a total of NT$927.6 billion spread over 1,689 projects.

■ Qimonda to increase capacity

Qimonda, the memory chip unit of German semi-conductors giant Infineon, said yesterday it planned to increase capacity in Asia, which could involve substantial new investment in the region.

"We're examining a number of different options to boost our capacity," a company spokesman was quoted by the business daily Handelsblatt as saying.

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