Tue, Dec 02, 2008 - Page 11 News List

[BUSINESS BRIEFS]

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Share prices close higher

Taiwanese shares closed up 1.30 percent yesterday as a strong performance from financial stocks reversed early losses on profit-taking, dealers said.

The weighted index rose 57.94 points to close at 4,518.43, on turnover of NT$66.88 billion (US$2.01 billion).

The market opened lower at around 4,500 points, but interest in the financial sector gained momentum in late morning trade, dealers said.

“Investors have hopes that the financial sector will benefit from closer cross-strait economic policies once Taiwan and China set up a mechanism for banking cooperation,” Taiwan International Securities (金鼎證券) analyst Arch Shih (施博元) said.

“Financial stocks have been hit hard by the global financial crisis. They appear attractive to bargain hunters,” Shih said.

It is hoped that improving ties with China will boost financial activity, dealers said.

Shih said the optimism shown towards financial stocks was also evident in other sectors, particularly companies that have set up footholds in China.

However, Shih warned against “unrealistic” expectations that this was a sign the market was about to take off. “Many investors here remain sidelined, looking for cues from global markets,” Shih said.

He said the market was likely to fall below 4,500 points again once profit-taking pressure resurfaces.

Amtran profits plummet

Amtran Technology Co (瑞軒科技), which makes flat-panel TVs for the US TV vendor Vizio Inc, yesterday said October net profits fell 50 percent to NT$111 million from a year ago.

Sales fell by 36.31 percent to NT$3.98 billion last month, compared with the same period last year, the company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The stock rose seven straight trading sessions to end at NT$9.8 yesterday. It has plunged 81 percent this year.

In September, Amtran said it may ship 4 million units of flat-panel TVs this year and the shipments may grow by 30 percent next year before the global economy started showing more signs of deterioration.

Flights to Seoul cemented

Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) yesterday began regular flights between Kaohsiung and Seoul, in an expansion of its charter service on the route, an airline official said.

Mandarin Airlines, which operates the only service on the route, will offer five flights per week between Kaohsiung International Airport and Incheon International Airport, said Yang Tzung-da (楊宗達), general manager of the Korean branch of China Airlines, the parent of Mandarin Airlines.

NT dollar loses ground

The NT dollar fell against the greenback yesterday, ending four days of gains, on speculation that the global economic slowdown is crimping demand for electronics exports.

The NT dollar extended last month’s decline after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the world’s largest custom-chip maker, said last week it would cut costs next year because of slowing global economic growth. China’s manufacturing contracted by the most on record, a report showed yesterday, adding to concern that Taiwan’s biggest export market was weakening.

“For Taiwan, what matters is the PMI [Purchasing Managers’ Index] that came out of China for November, which showed a steep decline,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, a strategist at CFC Seymour Ltd in Hong Kong. “There is a major contraction going on in Chinese manufacturing.”

The NT dollar fell 0.2 percent to close at NT$33.35.

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