Shares fall early, close flat
Shares closed flat yesterday as some last-minute buying helped offset early falls driven by Wall Street's overnight pullback, dealers said.
Selected technology firms with robust earnings and bright outlook for the upcoming peak season managed to push the index into positive territory just before the closing bell, they said.
The TAIEX closed up 9.24 points or 0.11 percent at 8,727.55. Turnover was at NT$111.43 billion (US$3.38 billion).
A weak undertone in overseas markets prompted investors to take a cautious stance, although there was bargain-hunting in select stocks that saw significant correction recently, said Alex Huang (黃國偉) of Mega International Investment Services Co (兆豐國際投顧).
"Expectations of an upswing in steel prices on the global front boosted stocks in that segment, while some electronics [firms] attracted interest thanks to their earnings results for the first half," Huang said.
On the foreign exchange market, the New Taiwan dollar dropped NT$0.008 to close at NT$33.002 against the US dollar.
Turnover was US$737 million on the Taipei Forex Inc.
Apex buyout approved
The Investment Commission gave its approval yesterday for the buyout of Apex International Clinical Research Co (國際精鼎科技) by Parexel International Holding BV's of the Netherlands.
Parexel announced in June it would acquire Apex at NT$82.94 per share, or a total NT$1.79 billion. Apex is the first local biotech firm acquired by a foreign company.
The commission also gave a green light to Lehman Brothers Inc's application to turn its local branch into a subsidiary with an initial investment of US$30.37 million, it said in a statement.
From July 11 to yesterday, the commission approved 443 foreign investments worth US$600.71 million, and 473 outbound investments worth US$1.68 billion, its statistics showed. Of the overseas investment, China-bound investments accounted for 400 cases, or US$1.15 billion in value, the statistics showed.
Flat panel revenue to increase
Taiwan's flat panel makers and component suppliers are expected to have revenues increase at a slower pace this quarter due to easing supply constraint, Hsinchu-based research house Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) said yesterday.
Revenues of the flat panel industry may expand 9.8 percent to NT$438.89 billion in the third quarter from NT$399.88 billion in the second quarter, ITRI said.
The quarterly growth was much slower than 22 percent increase during April-June period.
"Panel supply could not match demand since earlier this year ... The tight supply should ease in the third quarter," ITRI said.
Merrill Lynch appoints new head
Merrill Lynch & Co, the world's third-largest manager of money for the rich, appointed Albert Lee (李玉秋) to head its local operations and expand its private-banking business in the country.
Lee will oversee private clients, research and global markets operations as the investment bank's first Taiwanese chairman and chief executive officer, Rob Stewart, a Hong Kong-based spokesman for Merrill Lynch, said in a phone interview yesterday.
Nan Ya posts profit decline
Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞塑膠), the world's biggest processor of plastics for pipes and imitation leather, posted a 4.8 percent decline in second-quarter profit to NT$11.9 billion (US$360 million) because of a loss booked from a chip-making affiliate.