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Sat, Aug 25, 2001 - Page 18 News List

TAIEX has worst week since December, VIA leads fall

BASEMENT DWELLERS Chipmakers led Taiwan's key stock index in retreat as dire predictions of lower prices and falling demand cause investers to dump tech stocks


Taiwan stocks tumbled, as the key index had its worst week this year, led by VIA Technologies Inc (威盛電子), after its second-quarter earnings dropped as a result of price cuts aimed at seizing market share from rival Intel Corp.

The TAIEX slumped 149.44, or 3.4 percent, to 4,310.32, its biggest decline in percentage terms since July 18. For the week, it lost 7.1 percent, its biggest such decline since Dec. 22. Within the index, 407 stocks fell and 63 rose.

Trading value yesterday was NT$44.97 billion (US$1.29 billion), or only 60 percent of this year's daily average of NT$73.06 billion.

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) dropped after its US-listed shares slid 6.2 percent Thursday, suggesting few investors see a recovery in demand for semiconductors anytime soon.

"A genuine recovery in electronic demand may take awhile as the extent of overcapacity in semiconductors worries me," said William Pitman, who helps manage about US$3 billion in Asian investments at Henderson Investors Singapore Ltd. "It would thus be difficult for any rally in electronics shares to be sustainable."

VIA Technologies plunged NT$14, or 6.8 percent, to NT$192, its biggest decline since Nov. 13. VIA, whose chipsets control the flow of data in a computer, said net income in the three months to June 30 dropped to NT$1 billion (US$29 million). That's worse than the average NT$1.2 billion forecast by five analysts in a Bloomberg survey.

Chipmakers declined after their US-listed shares fell and the widely watched Philadelphia Semiconductor Index, a price-weighted index of 16 companies that design and make chips, dropped 0.8 percent Thursday.

Taiwan's biggest made-to-order chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), fell NT$1.50, or 2.4 percent, to NT$60.50. Its American depositary receipts (ADR) lost US$0.14, or 1.1 percent, to US$12.26. UMC, the second biggest contract chipmaker, fell NT$1.90, or 5 percent, to NT$36.50. Its ADRs shed US$0.45, or 6.2 percent, to US$6.80.

Declining fortunes

* The TAIEX fell 3.4 percent -- it's largest percentage loss since July 18.

* VIA Technologies -- Intel's primary rival in the motherboard chipset business -- led deliners with a 6.8 percent fall.

* TSMC and UMC, Taiwan's largest contract chipmakers, fell 2.4 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Source: bloomberg

Computer product makers fell on concerns that continued economic weakness in the US and other economies will dampen demand for the island's computer parts. Acer Inc (宏電), a computer maker, fell NT$1, or 6 percent, to NT$15.80. Hon Hai Precision Industry Ltd (鴻海電子), which makes everything in a computer except chips, dropped NT$8, or 4.9 percent, to NT$155. Quanta Computer Inc (廣達電腦), the island's biggest computer notebook maker, fell NT$4, or 5.3 percent, to NT$72.

Memory chipmakers declined as the spot price for their main product fell to US$0.88. That's down from more than US$9 earlier this year, according to DRAM Exchange, a market place for memory chips. Mosel Vitelic Inc (茂矽電子) fell NT$0.30, or 2.5 percent, to NT$11.50. Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技) fell NT$0.50, or 3.2 percent, to NT$15. Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電子) fell NT$0.80, or 3.7 percent, to NT$20.60.

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) fell NT$9, or 6.6 percent, to NT$127. Tony Tseng, an analyst at Merrill Lynch Taiwan Ltd, cut his recommendation on the computer motherboard maker to "neutral" from "buy" and lowered his previous estimate for the company's second-quarter net income by 15 percent to NT$3.4 billion.

ProMOS technologies Inc (茂德科技) fell NT$0.50, or 3.2 percent, to NT$15. The chipmaker's board approved a plan to raise NT$8 billion by selling bonds and from a bank loan.

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