Shares down 2.17 percent
Shares closed 2.17 percent lower yesterday, led by losses in the key electronics sector, dealers said.
The weighted index fell 99.48 points to 4,491.78, on turnover of NT$63.56 billion (US$1.87 billion).
Memory chip makers tumbled despite news that a consortium of local banks had tentatively agreed to a new loan of NT$3 billion to the ailing ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技).
“The industry’s outlook is still dim,” said Mega Securities Corp (兆豐證券) assistant vice president Alex Huang (黃國偉). “This loan can ease the company’s pressure in the short term, but can’t improve its weak financial position.”
Seeking ‘best job in the world’
More than 18,000 people from about 200 countries have applied for the “best job in the world,” hoping to earn good money for lazing around on an Australian island, officials said yesterday.
The deadline for applications for the post of “caretaker” of tropical Hamilton Island on the Great Barrier Reef looms on Sunday — and the competition is already tough, the Queensland state government warned.
“We’ve been really overwhelmed by the lengths people are going to draw attention to their applications,” Tourism Queensland spokeswoman Nicole McNaughton said.
“Potential applicants have sent out press releases, sourced their own media coverage and established websites dedicated to their applications,” she said.
Candidates are required to create a video application in English of up to one minute explaining why they are uniquely qualified for the job.
The job will pay A$150,000 (US$100,000) for six months.
Hynix shares lead drops
Hynix Semiconductor Inc, the world’s second-largest maker of computer memory chips, fell the most in almost two months in Seoul trading after JPMorgan Chase & Co cut its rating on the stock, citing lower prices.
Hynix lost 8.3 percent to close at 8,210 won (US$5.64) on the Korea Exchange, the most since Dec. 24. The benchmark Kospi index fell 4.1 percent.
JPMorgan lowered the rating on Ichon-based Hynix to “underweight” from “neutral” in a report today. Recent price increases of computer memory chips are unsustainable and prices will be pressured by a “worsening demand outlook,” wrote JJ Park, an analyst at JPMorgan in Seoul.
Prices of the benchmark dynamic random access memory chip surged 53 percent from the start of the year to peak at US$1.12 on Feb. 3, after makers cut output to counter a glut and Munich-based Qimonda AG filed for insolvency, Dramexchange Technology Inc said.
UBS predicts contraction
Taiwan’s economy could contract by 4.7 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of last year, with private investment likely experiencing the biggest drop of 20 percent at the same time, UBS Investment Research’s chief economist Sean Yokota said in a report yesterday.
The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) is scheduled to release the fourth quarter’s real GDP figure today while revising its GDP forecast for upcoming quarters.
Yokota yesterday remained his forecast of negative 1.6 percent GDP growth for Taiwan this year, adding he could revisit his forecast after the DGBAS’s fourth-quarter GDP release today.
He warned, however, of risk for the nation’s central bank to cut rates shall today’s GDP release looks bleak.
Yokota said the central bank was likely to cut the discount rate by 50 basis points from the current 1.5 percent during an unscheduled meeting ahead of its quarterly meeting next month.
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