SinoPac deal boosts TAIEX
The TAIEX closed higher yesterday after the financial sector regained momentum on the back of news that Taiwan-based SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (永豐金控) has agreed to sell a stake in its banking unit to China’s Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC, 中國工商銀行), dealers said.
However, the upside on the broader market was limited, as the high-tech sector appeared lackluster and select old economy stocks, in particular petrochemical firms, suffered downward pressure, they said.
The weighted index closed up 29.17 points, or 0.37 percent, at 7,942.35 on turnover of NT$68.02 billion (US$2.27 billion).
United postpones Taipei flights
United Airlines has postponed its planned resumption of flights between San Francisco and Taipei to March 31 next year.
In a recent announcement, the US air carrier said the postponement was caused by a shortage of planes due to the grounding of all Boeing 787 aircraft in operation around the world. United Airlines currently has six of the planes.
Weaker euro dents reserves
Taiwan’s foreign exchange reserves amounted to US$401.89 billion as of the end of last month, a decrease of US$2.19 billion from February, the central bank said yesterday.
The euro and other major currencies depreciated against the US dollar last month, making a decrease in foreign exchange reserves greater than the returns from management of the reserves, the central bank said in a statement.
The outflow from foreign-held portfolios totaled NT$70 million last month, also dragging down the nation’s foreign exchange reserves, the bank said.
Central bank auctions bonds
The central bank yesterday sold NT$40 billion of five-year bonds at a yield of 1.017 percent in an auction, with the yield rate for five-year bonds rising for the third straight time.
The sale attracted bids for 1.85 times the number of bonds on offer, higher than the 1.79 times when the bank last sold five-year bonds on Jan. 15, the central bank said.
The banking sector accounted for 64.75 percent of the winning bids, followed by the securities sector with 31 percent and the bills finance sector with 4.25 percent, data from the sale showed.
Separately, the central bank sold NT$100 billion of 364-day negotiable certificates of deposit in an auction with an average interest rate of 0.691 percent, down from the 0.72 percent recorded in the previous sale, with the sale attracting bids for 3.03 times the number of bills on offer.
HTC unveils new smartphone
Smartphone vendor HTC Corp (宏達電) yesterday unveiled its new entry-level smartphone model, the Desire Q, targeting a younger generation of smartphone users, who are heavy users of smartphones for playing music and taking pictures.
Equipped with a 1GHz processor and a 5 megapixel rear camera, the Desire Q is a 4-inch Android-powered smartphone customized exclusively for Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) subscribers.
The phone is priced at NT$6,900 (US$231.19), but consumers may own the phone at zero cost by paying a minimum monthly subscription fee of NT$1,173 (US$39.29) in a two-year contract.
Earlier this week, HTC unveiled the Desire P, a mid-level smartphone which has a NT$10,900 price tag.
NT dollar loses ground
The New Taiwan lost ground against its US counterpart yesterday, declining NT$0.005 to close at NT$29.925.
Trading volume totaled US$606 million during the session.