TAIEX inches higher
The TAIEX closed 0.31 percent higher yesterday after the market tumbled for two sessions on mounting swine flu fears, dealers said.
The weighted index rose 17.33 points to 5,614.06 on turnover worth NT$112.49 billion (US$3.34 billion).
Losers outnumbered gainers 1,330 to 784, while 140 stocks were unchanged.
Analysts considered the slight gain as an initial sign of stabilization after a 2.99 percent plunge on Monday and a 1.90 percent drop on Tuesday.
“The market reacted drastically to the flu outbreak in Mexico [where it began] over the past two days, but the reaction seemed to be stronger than it should be if compared with the other markets,” said Alex Huang (黃國偉) of Mega International Investment Services (兆豐投信).
Government may buy stocks
Minister of Finance Lee Sush-der (李述德) said he may order state-controlled funds to buy stocks in support of the market as the swine flu outbreak worsens.
“We are monitoring the situation now and will enter the market if there’s a need,” Lee said in a telephone interview, adding that any use of fund would need the approval from a steering committee of government officials.
The government controls the National Stabilization Fund, created in 2000 with NT$500 billion (US$15 billion) and four other investment vehicles to buy stocks.
The Taiwanese government used the funds in September, instructing them to buy shares after a 9 percent slump following Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy filing.
Hon Hai profits drop 17 percent
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, said yesterday its first-quarter net profit fell 17 percent to NT$13.35 billion (US$396 million), or NT$1.80 a share, from a year earlier.
The firm reported a net profit of NT$16.07 billion, or NT$2.17 a share, for the same period last year.
First-quarter revenue fell 7.9 percent to NT$278 billion from NT$301.80 billion in the first quarter of last year.
Formosa profits plummet
Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), Taiwan’s only publicly traded oil refiner, posted a 73 percent decline in first-quarter profit after cutting production because of the global recession.
Net income fell to NT$2.66 billion (US$79 million), or NT$0.29 per share, in the three months ended March 31, from NT$9.82 billion, or NT$1.06, a year earlier, the Mailiao-based company said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday.
First-quarter sales plunged 49 percent from a year earlier to NT$118.6 billion, after declining 43 percent in the previous three months.
Winbond sells Walsin shares
Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電子), Taiwan’s smallest random access memory chip maker, said it sold 48 million shares of Walsin Lihwa Corp (華新麗華) at an average price of NT$6.32 and booked a loss of NT$327 million (US$9.7 million), the Taichung-based company said in a statement yesterday.
NT dollar ‘relatively stable’
The New Taiwan dollar is “relatively stable,” the central bank said yesterday, after the local currency strengthened the most in almost a month.
The NT dollar advanced 0.4 percent to NT$33.658 against the greenback at the 4pm local close, Taipei Forex Inc said.
“The US dollar depreciated against major currencies today,” the central bank said, adding that the South Korean won posted a bigger gain than the NT dollar.