Thu, May 15, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Shares up 0.32 percent

Taiwanese shares closed up 0.32 percent yesterday as steel and cement continued to benefit from an expected rise in demand because of reconstruction work in China after a massive earthquake, dealers said.

However, the broad market’s gains were capped by profit-taking after yesterday’s sharp rise, they said.

The weighted index closed up 28.89 points at 9,018.42, after trading in a range between 8,994.17 and 9,056.80. Turnover was NT$142.37 billion (US$4.61 billion).

Gainers outnumbered losers 1,218 to 1,060, while 378 stocks were unchanged. A total of 30 stocks closed limit-up, while 11 were limit-down.

Samson Chueh (闕山雄), an assistant vice president at Yuanta Core Pacific Capital Management (元大投顧), said steel, cement and other construction-related firms were in focus over expected rising post-quake demand in China.

Narrow-band consolidation could be the dominating theme in the next few days, given technical resistance of around 9,200 points on the index, he said.

Foxconn shares gain NT$5.50

Foxconn Technology Inc (鴻準精密), maker of metal casings for Apple Inc’s phones and notebooks, saw its share prices gain NT$5.50, or 3 percent, to close at NT$188, the highest since April 30 after Morgan Stanley analysts said the company would raise some prices next month.

Catcher Technology Co (可成科技) also rose NT$7, or 6.1 percent, to NT$122.50. The companies, Taiwan’s two biggest makers of metal computer casings, will raise product prices by as much as 10 percent starting next month to reflect costs, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a report yesterday.

Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦) president Ray Chen (陳瑞聰) said on May 6 the company would raise prices this quarter because of higher costs for labor and raw materials.

Price of rice wine lowered

The Ministry of Finance said yesterday it would lower the tax on cooking rice wine, also known as salted rice wine, from NT$22 to NT$9 per liter, beginning tomorrow, after the legislature passed amendments to the Tobacco and Liquor Tax Law (菸酒稅法) on April 22.

In other words, the tax would be cut from NT$13.2 to NT$5.4 per 600ml bottle, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Web site.

To reflect the tax cut of NT$7.8 per 600ml bottle, the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (台灣菸酒公司) announced yesterday it would drop the retail price of the wine by NT$8 per 600ml bottle.

Under the company’s price cut proposal, the 20-proof cooking rice wine would be sold for NT$40 instead of NT$48 per 600ml bottle previously. The price for 40-proof wine will drop from NT$64 to NT$56 and that for 58-proof wine will decline from NT$90 to NT$82 respectively, Taiwan Tobacco said.

Applied Materials profit down

Applied Materials Inc, a producer of semiconductor-manufacturing equipment, said its second-quarter profit dropped 26 percent after it filled fewer orders from computer-memory makers.

Net income declined to US$302.5 million, or US$0.22 a share, from US$411.4 million, or US$0.29, a year earlier, Santa Clara, California-based Applied Materials said in a statement yesterday. Orders, the key indicator of future sales, would hit bottom next quarter, Applied said, prompting the shares to rise 1.4 percent.

Memory-chip makers have slowed expansion after an industry-wide glut triggered losses, causing five consecutive profit declines at Applied Materials. While orders would fall again this quarter, they would not get any worse after that, chief executive officer Mike Splinter said.

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