TSMC leads declineon TAIEX following Merrill Lynch rating

BLOOMBERG

Tue, Jul 13, 2004 - Page 11

The TAIEX fell yesterday, led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), after Merrill Lynch & Co lowered its investment rating on the global semiconductor industry to "underweight" from "overweight."

Acer Inc and VIA Technologies Inc (威盛電子) advanced on optimism forecasts for US corporate earnings may be improving after General Electric Co said profit beat its own estimate and raised its forecast for this year.

The TAIEX slid to 18.98, or 0.3 percent, to 5,758.74. Roughly three shares rose for every two that fell. Futures for July delivery ended unchanged at 5,707.

TSMC slipped 2.6 percent to NT$44.80. Rival United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) lost 2.1 percent to NT$23.80.

Acer, the nation's third-largest computer company by market value, gained 0.9 percent to NT$44.50. VIA Technologies, the country's biggest maker of chipsets for personal computers, rose 1.4 percent to NT$28.10.

``Like GE, many US companies are expected to report good profit performances this week,'' said Kevin Lin, funa manager at Shinkong Investment Trust Co (新光投信). "The brighter outlook will definitely help boost Taiwan stocks."

China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控), the country's fifth-biggest financial services company by market value, added 1.2 percent to NT$17. It had unaudited first-half profit of NT$4.9 billion (US$145 million), compared with a loss of NT$14.7 billion a year earlier, the company said. China Steel Corp (中鋼) rose 1.5 percent to NT$33.40. The spot price of hot-rolled coil exported to China rose 1.2 percent on Friday to US$425 per tonne, according to the Metal Bulletin.