Stocks fall 0.4%
Taiwan's stocks fell 37.52, or 0.4 percent, to close at 8,905.41 yesterday as Mediatek Inc (聯發科) paced declines on concerns that demand for electronics products will drop after consumer spending slowed in the US.
"Lingering worries about the US economy capped investor confidence," said Ashley Kang, who helps manage US$1.7 billion at IBT Securities Co (台灣工銀投信) in Taipei. "Exporter-dependent stocks are suffering."
Chipmakers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) dropped after Applied Materials Inc, (台灣應用材料) the largest maker of semiconductor-production machines, said profit declined and predicted that a computer-memory chip slump would reduce orders.
Nearly US$3.1 billion in shares changed hands, the lowest since May 30.
Mediatek, the world's largest supplier of chips for DVD players, fell NT$19, or 3.6 percent, to NT$508.
Taiwan Semiconductor, the world's biggest supplier of made-to-order chips, dropped NT$0.60, or 1 percent, to NT$60.90.
Applied Materials said fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 6.1 percent and chief executive officer Mike Splinter said a computer-memory chip slump would reduce orders until the first half of next year.
However, Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), the nation's largest food company, jumped NT$3.10, or 7 percent, to NT$47.60, taking its two-day gain to 14 percent, the biggest since Aug. 23.
Buyback of NT$2bn in two days
Chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said that it had spent NT$1.82 billion (US$56.35 million) on buying back 29.48 million shares, or 0.11 percent of its total outstanding shares, in two days.
The world's biggest contract chipmaker said on Tuesday that it planned to buy back a maximum 800 million common shares, or 3.03 percent of its total 26.42 billion outstanding shares, from the open market for no more than US$1.8 billion in the two-month period ending Jan. 13.
Ukraine close to WTO entry
Ukraine cleared its last significant hurdle to entering the WTO on Wednesday by signing a long-sought trade agreement with Kyrgyzstan, according to Ukrainian and Kyrgyz officials.
Ukraine has made joining the WTO a priority as it needs foreign investment to boost its economy.
Foreign Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that by signing the agreement, Ukraine had overcome the last major hurdle to acquiring WTO membership.
Ukraine now must complete some formalities to join the WTO.
China sticks by greenback
People's Bank of China Assistant Governor Yi Gang (易鋼) said on Wednesday that China's policy toward its currency holdings that are mostly weighted in US dollars was "very firm," and that any future changes should be driven by economic fundamentals.
Yi's remarks followed comments last week by the vice chairman of an advisory body suggesting that China dump dollar holdings in favor of euros, which sent the greenback tumbling.
At a conference on Wednesday sponsored by the Cato Institute, Yi said that the US dollar was the largest currency holding in China's reserves because most trade, foreign direct investment and clearance and settlements are in dollars.
Yi alluded to recent speculation that China could shift its currency reserves away from dollars, saying it was just "opinion that does not change our policy."
NT dollar drops slightly
The New Taiwan dollar yesterday weakened by NT$0.01 to close at NT$32.298 against the greenback on turnover of US$671 million.