■ Shares rise sharply
Shares rose sharply yesterday on a rally in the technology sector and suspected buying by government funds.
The TAIEX finished up 121.43 points, or 2.1 percent, to 5,971.06, the highest close since Oct. 12, when it settled at 5,987.40.
Advancers outnumbered decliners 861 to 176, while 156 issues ended the day unchanged.
Dealers said investors started bargain-hunting yesterday despite the weakness in US stocks overnight, with activity concentrated in the technology sector.
"Taiwan's technology-heavy stock index typically tracks Nasdaq very closely, but it has been lagging this year," says Harvey Chang, fund manager at SinoPac Securities Corp (建華證券). Taiwan's main index has risen 2.2 percent in the past 12 months, compared with the Nasdaq Composite Index's 3.6 percent gain.
Daily turnover totaled NT$82.65 billion (US$2.50 billion), the highest since Oct. 20, when it was at NT$86.35 billion. The trading value Tuesday was NT$52.91 billion.
■ Toshiba and NEC announce JV
Japanese electronics makers Toshiba Corp and NEC Electronics Corp will jointly develop next-generation semiconductors that are smaller, faster, more efficient and less costly, the two companies announced yesterday.
The new chips will have circuit widths as narrow as 45 nanometers, allowing electronics makers to also shrink the size of their products, a joint statement said.
The companies said joint development would allow the companies to share the hefty costs associated with creating new chip technology and speed up the development process, adding they had started discussing a comprehensive alliance in their operations.
Yesterday's deal came after NEC Electronics warned late last month that it would fall deep into the red this fiscal year after falling sales and prices for a range of its chip products.
■ Direct links with China urged
Taiwan's government should push for direct transportation links with rival China to counter an outflow of business talent from the country, two credit ratings companies said yesterday.
Transporation links would make it possible to keep more Taiwanese businesses on the island and to attract more international companies, said Tony Tsai (蔡東松), a director of Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), a subsidiary of Standard & Poor's.
"International businesses say that if links are improved, they can put their regional headquarters in Taiwan," Tsai said.
The director of Fitch's Taiwan branch, Jonathan Lee (李信佳), said that regular flights between Taiwan and China would allow Taiwanese business people with mainland interests to live on the island.
"If there are direct links, business people will stay in Taiwan and boost private consumption on the island," Lee said.
■ NT dollar firms slightly
The New Taiwan dollar gained as traders bet a strengthening yen will reduce the risk that regional central banks will sell their currencies. The NT dollar rose NT$0.068 to close at NT$33.648 against its US counterpart on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$560 million.
"The Taiwan dollar is tracking the yen's strength," said Sadaki Kondou, assistant general manager of the treasury department in Taipei at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd, a unit of Japan's second-biggest lender. "A stronger yen leads to speculation the authorities will ease their grip on the currency."
The NT dollar also drew support after stock exchange data showed investors based outside of the country bought a net US$1.72 billion of Taiwan's equities this month.
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