Wed, Dec 17, 2008 - Page 11 News List

[BUSINESS BRIEFS]

AGENCIES

Little change on bourse

Taiwanese shares closed flat yesterday as investors awaited a move on the US bailout plan for automakers and a decision on interest rates by the US Federal Reserve, dealers said.

The weighted index edged up 3.17 points, or 0.07 percent, at 4,616.89 on turnover of NT$58.41 billion (US$1.76 billion).

Losers outnumbered gainers 924 to 479, while 301 stocks were unchanged.

A total of 31 shares surged by the 7 percent daily limit, against 13 that were limit-down.

“Investors took a sideline today, largely because of the overnight fall on Wall Street amid uncertainty facing the US stock market,” said Mars Hsu of Grand Cathay Securities (大華證券).

“Investors here were also waiting for the final result of the US government’s bid to bail out the struggling auto industry and the meeting of the US Federal Reserve, during which an interest rate cut is expected,” he said.

China stocks get ‘sell’ rating

China’s stocks are a sell, Citigroup Inc said, a week after Merrill Lynch & Co picked Asia’s second-worst performer of this year as its top emerging market prospect for next year.

China, the world’s fastest-growing major economy, is among the two least favored in Asia for next year on concern earnings will falter, Citigroup said yesterday. Merrill said last Wednesday that the nation’s stocks were “cheap” and the country would make up 80 percent of world growth.

China’s CSI 300 Index, the benchmark gauge of companies traded in Shanghai and Shenzhen, has tumbled 64 percent this year, halting a run that drove the measure up more than sevenfold over the previous two years.

Citigroup’s report reflected a growing divide on whether government stimulus measures are enough to stem a slump in the world’s fourth-largest economy and revive shares next year.

“Much will depend on the results season and guidance by corporates,” while the “scope for lower interest rates and pump priming remains substantial,” Markus Rosgen, a strategist at Citigroup, said in the report.

Microsoft Explorer at risk

Users of all current versions of Microsoft Corp’s Internet Explorer browser might be vulnerable to having their computers hijacked because of a serious security hole in the software that had yet to be fixed on Monday.

The flaw lets criminals commandeer victims’ machines merely by tricking them into visiting Web sites tainted with malicious programming code. As many as 10,000 sites have been compromised since last week to exploit the browser flaw, antivirus software maker Trend Micro Inc (趨勢科技) said.

The sites are mostly Chinese and have been serving up programs that steal passwords for computer games, which can be sold for money on the black market. However, the hole is such that it could be “adopted by more financially motivated criminals for more serious mayhem — that’s a big fear right now,” Paul Ferguson, a Trend Micro security researcher, said on Monday.

CPC extends plant closure

CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油), the nation’s state-owned oil refiner, extended the closure of its No. 4 naphtha-processing plant in Kaohsiung by more than a month because of weak market demand for ethylene, a company official said yesterday.

The naphtha cracker, shut on Oct. 11 for scheduled repairs, will resume production next month, said a CPC official who declined to be identified because of company policy. The refiner had planned to restart the unit late last month.

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