Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Shares slump on US drop

Share prices closed 1.8 percent lower yesterday as investors took cues from the latest Wall Street plunge amid concerns over a weakening US economy and surging crude oil costs, dealers said.

The weighted index closed 157.39 points at 8,587.96, off a low of 8,514.93 and a high of 8,596.23, on turnover of NT$81.9 billion (US$2.7 billion) — the lowest since Dec. 26.

A jump in the US jobless rate last month to 5.5 percent raised worries over a deteriorating economy in the US, which is one of Taiwan’s major importers, dealers said.

Soaring oil prices added to fears that rising inflation would affect the local economy, they said.

However, bargain hunting surfaced to recover some earlier losses after opening sharply lower, they added.

“The trading volume is very thin, implying that many investors are still reluctant to sell, given the already-low valuation of Taiwanese shares,” Taiwan International Securities (金鼎證券) trader Cecelia Lu said.

UMC’s May sales rose 4.7%

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) said yesterday that revenue last month rose 4.7 percent from a year ago to NT$8.61 billion (US$284.2 million).

The company, the world’s second-largest contract chipmaker by revenue after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), said in a statement its revenue in the first five months of this year was NT$41.13 billion, up from NT$39.38 billion in the year-earlier period.

UMC said in late April it expected its wafer shipments to rise by about 10 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter amid strong demand for chips used in communication devices.

VIA surges on Nvidia deal

Shares of VIA Technologies Inc (威盛電子), the nation’s largest designer of computer processors, climbed to a seven-month high in Taipei trading yesterday after the company said late last week it would cooperate with Nvidia Corp to develop chips.

VIA gained 6.8 percent to close at NT$21.95 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, outpacing the benchmark TAIEX which fell 1.8 percent.

Taipei-based VIA is cooperating with Nvidia, the world’s second-largest maker of graphics processors, to make chips for small-sized desktop computers and mini-notebooks, the company said in an exchange filing after the market closed on Friday.

VIA will release a chip developed in conjunction with Nvidia in the first quarter of next year, Digitimes reported first on its Web site on Friday, citing unnamed industry sources. That drove the stock up by 6.8 percent on Friday.

Banks rate a low ‘D’: Fitch

The local banking sector’s credit rating lagged behind that of its Asian peers, Fitch Ratings said yesterday.

Low profit margins and poor asset quality contributed to Taiwanese banks’ D rating — lower than the Thai banking sector’s C rating and South Korean banks’ B rating, Jonathan Lee (李信佳), a senior director who tracks financial institutions at Fitch Ratings Ltd’s Taiwan branch, told a media briefing.

Lee, however, said he believed that the health of the local banking sector would improve in the second half of this year, which may lift its rating to a C.

NT dollar advances

The New Taiwan dollar strengthened by NT$0.036 to close at NT$30.299 on turnover of US$878 million yesterday.

The US currency opened at NT$30.345 and fluctuated between NT$30.280 and NT$30.400.

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