Thu, Dec 18, 2008 - Page 11 News List

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AGENCIES

Shares close higher

Taiwanese shares closed 0.67 percent higher yesterday as profit-taking offset the early gains bolstered by Wall Street’s overnight rally, dealers said.

The weighted index rose 31.13 points to 4,648.02 on turnover of NT$94.53 billion (US$2.89 billion).

The market opened high on the back of Wall Street’s rally as the US Federal Reserve cut its key rate to near zero and pledged more steps to revive a sagging economy. But selling pressure emerged in the late session.

“After all, the market already rose for several consecutive sessions. The profit-taking is anticipated,” said Steven Huang of President Securities (統一證券).

The market was also weighed down by the continued appreciation of the local currency against the US dollar over the past week, which would make the prices of locally manufactured goods higher in overseas markets.

China may allow purchases

China may allow domestic funds under the qualified domestic institutional investor program, or QDII, to buy stocks in Taiwan.

The government still needs to determine how QDIIs will hold Taiwan’s stocks, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi (李維一) said yesterday at a press briefing in Beijing.

Taiwan announced on Dec. 4 that it would open its stock and futures markets to China’s QDII as the government moves toward an internationalized financial market.

UMC denies report

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s second-largest custom-chip maker, denied a report it cut several hundred jobs and said it had reduced executive salaries by 15 percent.

Executives at vice-president level and above, including the chief executive officer and chairman, will take the pay cuts, Alex Hinnawi, a spokesman for the Hsinchu-based company, said yesterday.

UMC “has cut several hundred jobs,” Dow Jones Newswires reported earlier yesterday, citing an unidentified company official.

The firm began encouraging workers to take early retirement in July, while others have left the company voluntarily, Hinnawi said, without providing numbers.

Kaohsiung Harbor to slump

Kaohsiung Harbor’s container volume this year will drop due to the global economic slump, an official said yesterday.

In the year to date, Kaohsiung Harbor’s container volume totaled 8.97 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit), down 3.9 percent from the same period last year, said Huang Kuo-ying (黃國英), deputy director of Kaohsiung Harbor.

Total container volume this year is expected to reach 9.9 million TEUs, down 2.9 percent.

Container volume for last year rose 4.7 percent from 2006, but business fell this year due to the global financial crisis.

Huang expects business to pick up with direct shipping links with China.

“However, the benefits will not show until two or three years later as there are many restrictions on direct sea links now,” he said.

Singapore resolves claims

Singapore’s central bank said 10 financial institutions that sold products linked to the collapsed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc will have resolved most investor complaints by the middle of next month.

The institutions, which received 4,978 complaints, agreed to review the cases on a principle of fairness “rather than taking the strict legal position,” the Monetary Authority of Singapore said yesterday in a statement.

Individual investors in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have demanded refunds from banks selling them structured notes linked to Lehman.

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