Share prices close higher
Share prices closed up 0.42 percent yesterday as bargain hunters continued to take advantage of heavy losses from intensive institutional selling last week, dealers said. The weighted index rose 36.46 points to 8,721.93, on turnover of NT$133.21 billion (US$4.53 billion).
The bellwether electronics sector also attracted buying as a weakening Taiwan dollar reduced fears that high-tech firms will suffer further foreign exchange losses, they said.
The plastics and chemicals sector scored the highest gains, ending 1.79 percent higher. Machinery and electronics stocks rose 0.55 percent, cement shares added 0.39 percent and the textile sector closed up 0.08 percent.
“The gains were simply a technical rebound,” Mega Securities (兆豐證券) analyst Alex Huang (黃國偉) said. “The upside remained limited amid concerns over further outflows of foreign funds out of Taiwan and even the region.”
Central bank may hike rates
The central bank may hike key interest rates by 12.5 basis points in its quarterly board meeting next month because of growing concern about inflation, Barclays Capital said in a statement yesterday.
“We believe the central bank will push up the benchmark discount rates by another 12.5 basis points to 1.75 percent in March to reflect increased concern about inflation,” the British financial service provider said in the statement.
The central bank will tighten interest rates further this year after major economic indicators register positive cyclical movements, Barclays Capital said, adding that trade links with China would accelerate and set the stage for more tourism and capital inflows.
TSMC board okays proposal
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday said its board had approved a proposal to pay an NT$3 cash dividend per share on last year’s profits.
TSMC made a record net income of NT$161.61 billion last year, NT$6.23 per share.
The board also approved the proposed NT$10.9 billion for employee bonuses and NT$10.9 billion in profit sharing, according to a company statement released yesterday.
The company will seek shareholders’ approval on the dividend and employee bonus plans at a meeting on June 9, it said.
The chipmaker said it is considering spinning off its New Business Division to create two wholly-owned subsidiaries for solar and light-emitting diodes businesses.
NT dollar falls again
The NT dollar fell for a fourth day, its longest losing streak since October, as some investors judged the rally that drove the currency to a 13-year high last week excessive.
Global funds sold US$2.2 billion more Taiwanese shares than they bought in the five days through yesterday, more than one-fifth of their total net purchases last year. The currency has strengthened 8.3 percent in the past six months, the best performance among Asia’s 10 most-used currencies.
“We’d been seeing pretty much constant appreciation of the Taiwan dollar before the slump began; it is difficult to predict when this wave of declines will stop,” said Henry Lin, a foreign-exchange trader at Taiwan Shin Kong Commercial Bank (新光銀行) in Taipei.
“Traders thought there would be a support level at NT$29.5, but it fell past that yesterday. I guess NT$29.8 is the next one,” he said.
The NT dollar fell 0.5 percent to close at NT$29.469 against its US counterpart, according to Taipei Forex Inc.