Sat, May 24, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Shares drift lower on inflation worries after fuel price rise

AFP , TAIPEI

The TAIEX closed 1.92 percent lower yesterday as inflation worries intensified after the new government decided to lift a freeze on gasoline and power tariffs, dealers said.

The weighted index closed down 173.30 points at the day’s low of 8,834.73, off a high of 9,050.78, on turnover of NT$148.28 billion (US$4.86 billion).

Decliners led risers 2,035 to 451, while 204 stocks were unchanged. A total of 44 stocks closed limit-down and 16 limit-up.

Transport firms fell sharply on the impending fuel price hike, while heavyweight technology and financial firms were also down on worries over the economy and consumer spending, dealers said.

The transport sector fell 2.87 percent, the electronics sector lost 2.55 percent and the financial sector was down 1.86 percent.

However, tourism stocks again outperformed after the Cabinet said on Thursday that it remained committed to bringing in more tourists from China, dealers said.

The tourism sector was up 2.20 percent and the food sector added 0.30 percent.

“People were spooked by the specter of inflation,” said Alex Huang (黃國偉), an assistant vice-president at Mega International Investment Services (兆豐國際投顧).

Huang said the consumer price index is expected to spike following the hikes in fuel and electricity prices.

For the week to yesterday, the weighted index closed down 362.68 points, or 3.94 percent, at 8,834.73, after a 4.61 percent rise a week earlier.

Average daily turnover stood at NT$151.24 billion, compared with NT$147.58 billion the previous week.

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