Thu, Jan 01, 2009 - Page 11 News List

[BUSINESS BRIEFS]

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Shares down 46% for 2008

Taiwanese shares yesterday closed down 46 percent for the year, marking the deepest drop since 1990 amid a global economic meltdown, dealers said.

The weighted index closed the last trading session of the year up 2.18 points, or 0.05 percent, from the previous day at 4,591.22 on turnover of NT$53.05 billion (US$1.62 billion).

Losers outnumbered gainers by 887 to 648 with 310 stocks unchanged.

The market opened 0.85 percent higher yesterday on follow-through buying from the previous session, but profit-taking set in as it moved closer to the 4,600 point resistance level, dealers said.

Large cap stocks — those with billions of dollars in capital — encountered greater pressure as investors rushed to pocket recent significant gains. On Tuesday, the bourse rose 3.91 percent largely on institutional buying.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) fell 1.77 percent to NT$44.40 and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) closed down 0.54 percent at NT$7.43. HTC Corp (宏達電) lost 0.91 percent to NT$327.00 and MediaTek (聯發科) fell 0.68 percent to NT$220.50.

“It has been a terrible year for the stock market with investor confidence hammered by global financial crisis and economic recession,” President Securities (統一證券) analyst Steven Huang said.

“On the last trading day, many investors were reluctant to keep their holdings but more willing to keep cash to rebuild positions for next year,” Huang said.

While the profit-taking came as no surprise, it seemed that there was technical support at around the range of 4,400-4,500 points in the short term, Huang said.

While electronic shares performed below the broader market, flat panel makers attracted buying on hopes that the government will bail out the troubled sector, which has been hit hard by weakening global consumption, dealers said.

Citibank denies reshuffle

Citibank Taiwan (台灣花旗) yesterday rejected local media reports that there will be a reshuffle of top executives when the bank merges its global corporate banking and investment banking divisions into one global banking group.

Y.T. Du (杜英宗), chairman of global investment banking in the Asia-Pacific region, denied he would resign, as local media had speculated, adding that the investment bank’s operation remained normal even though one of seven executives had quit and another had transferred to China, a bank statement said yesterday.

The statement added that parent Citigroup Inc had recently unveiled consolidation plans, which said the “global corporate bank and the investment bank will merge to form one global banking group.”

No timetable was set for the plan in Taiwan, the bank said.

Chen Lu-an to head Kuo Hua

The board of debt-ridden Kuo Hua Life Insurance Co (國華人壽) has elected former Control Yuan president Chen Lu-an (陳履安) to be its new chairman, local media reported yesterday.

Chen will replace outgoing chairwoman Wong Shih-chia (翁世佳), who replaced her father after his sudden death in 2006.

Despite lacking financial expertise, Chen, 71, has been in government for more than 20 years. The insurer was hoping to take advantage of Chen’s reputation and experience to enhance operations and management, the report said.

At the end of September Kuo Hua was pushed into the red, incurring more than NT$20.5 billion in losses, which scared away several foreign investors, the report said.

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