Semiconductor shares climb amid optimism on chips

BLOOMBERG

Thu, Aug 21, 2003 - Page 11

Stocks gained for a third day in four yesterday. Semiconductor shares such as Taiwan Semicon-ductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and United Microelec-tronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) rose on optimism chip sales will climb.

The TAIEX rose 31.45, or 0.6 percent, to 5,543.61. About stocks gained for every that declined. Turnover was NT$86.2 billion (US$2.51 billion).

TSMC, the world's largest maker of computer chips on a subcontracting basis that counts the US for three-quarters of its sales, rose NT$0.50, or 0.8 percent, to NT$63, adding to a five-day, 9.7 percent gain.

UMC, the world's second largest, added NT$0.30, or 1.2 percent, to NT$24.80.

The book-to-bill ratio for orders made to North American companies for equipment used to make semiconductors last month was 0.97, indicating US$97 worth of orders were made for every US$100 in products billed, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International said in a statement.

The ratio was 0.93 in June and 1.22 in July last year. A figure below 1 typically indicates a contracting market.

Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) and First Financial Holding Co (第ㄧ金控) gained after the Ministry of Finance said it hired PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP to advise it on a sale of NT$88.5 billion (US$2.5 billion) of bad loans held by Chung Shing Bank (中興銀行), stepping up the nation's clean up of the industry.

Chang Hwa, the country's sixth-biggest lender by assets, climbed NT$0.30, or 1.8 percent, to NT$16.70. First Financial, owner of the nation's fourth-biggest bank by assets, rose NT$0.20, or 1 percent, to NT$19.80.