Sun, Sep 09, 2007 - Page 10 News List

AU Optronics, Woodside lead Asian gains

UNFAZED The Taiwanese market largely ignored a warning from Hu Jintao on the planned referendum, although sentiment was dampened by sluggish trading in China


An investor checks stock prices at a private stock brokerage house in Shanghai on Friday. The Shanghai Composite Index shed 2.16 percent to close at 5,277.18 on Friday.


Asian stocks rose for a third week, led by AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) and Woodside Petroleum Ltd after price hikes in liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) and crude oil.

AU Optronics, Taiwan's largest LCD maker, rallied after it reported record sales amid increased demand that boosted panel prices. Woodside rose for a third week as the cost of crude climbed to a one-month high. Posco, Asia's third-biggest steelmaker, climbed to a record after Hyundai Steel Co said it was considering raising rates for its main product.

Companies worldwide "mostly are having better-than-expected earnings," said Jessica Huang, who oversees US$4.2 billion in assets as chief investment officer at ING Securities Investment & Trust Co in Taipei. "We can expect sales to continue to grow in the third quarter."

The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.2 percent this week to 152.40, after climbing 11 percent in the previous two weeks. A measure of energy stocks that includes Woodside posted the largest gain among the benchmark's 10 industry groups.

AU Optronics added 5.7 percent to NT$50.50. Sales last month surged 89 percent to a record NT$44.1 billion (US$1.3 billion) from NT$23.3 billion a year earlier.

LG.Philips LCD Co, the world's second-largest LCD maker, jumped 6.9 percent to 42,650 won. Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美電子), the second-biggest in Taiwan, added 0.9 percent to NT$33.70.

Woodside, Australia's second-largest oil producer, added 2.9 percent to A$46.63, its highest in eight weeks. CNOOC Ltd (中國海洋石油), China's largest offshore oil exploration company, gained 2.6 percent to HK$9.78 in Hong Kong. BHP Billiton Ltd, the world's biggest mining company and Australia's largest oil producer, added 3.5 percent to A$39.75, a record close.

Maanshan Iron & Steel Company Ltd (馬鞍山鋼鐵), the publicly traded unit of China's sixth-biggest steelmaker, gained 13 percent to 12.02 yuan. Baoshan Iron & Steel Co (寶山鋼鐵), China's biggest, climbed 2.1 percent to 18.87 yuan.


Taiwanese share prices closed little changed from Thursday after early gains fueled by Wall Street's rise on optimism for an interest rate cut were offset by regional weakness.

Dealers said trading had initially been upbeat after Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher said inflationary pressures are "increasingly well behaved," and the central bank is "listening carefully."

The weighted index closed up 1 point at 9,018.08 on turnover of NT$135.18 billion (US$4.10 billion).

The market largely ignored Chinese President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) warning that Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum on UN membership has propelled the region into a "possibly dangerous period."

But sentiment in late trading was dampened by the Chinese market's sluggish showing after the People's Bank of China said it would raise the commercial bank reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percentage points.

"International markets continued to serve as bellwether for Taipei stocks," said Michael On (洪瑞泰), president of Beyond Asset Management Co (晉昂證券投顧), adding that Wall Street initially set the pace for the local market with share prices rising.

But he added, "Declines in China and some other regional bourses triggered late profit-taking."


South Korean share prices closed 0.2 percent lower with investors awaiting US employment data which may provide clues on the direction of the Federal Reserve's next rate action.

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