2014-02-17 09:10 AM
■ Taiwan stock market (TAIEX) opened higher at 8,537 points, up 24 points, or 0.28 percent, on turnover of NT$1.99 billion.
■ The stock market is closing out its best week of the year as investors react to better earnings from U.S. companies. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose eight points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,838 Friday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 126 points, or 0.8 percent, to 16,154. The Nasdaq composite edged up three points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,244. (AP)
■ The price of oil stayed just above $100 a barrel Friday and finished the week with a small gain. Benchmark U.S. crude for March delivery fell 5 cents to close at $100.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, oil gained 42 cents. (AP)
■ Gold futures closed higher on Friday, extending their gains to an eight straight session and ending the week with a gain of 4.4% as recent soft U.S. economic data, including a fall in industrial production and strong demand for the metal. April gold rose $18.50, or 1.4%, to settle at $1,318.60 an ounce.
■ President Barack Obama has signed a bill lifting the U.S. debt limit, which frees the government to borrow the money it needs to pay bills, such as Social Security benefits and federal salaries. Failure to pass the measure, which the Senate passed 67-31 earlier this week and sent to Obama for his signature, most likely would have sent the stock market into a nosedive. (AP)
■ U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday he urged Chinese leaders to support Internet freedom and promised to look into whether American companies help Beijing curb access to online material. (AP)
■ Anti-government demonstrators in Ukraine's capital have vacated Kiev City Hall as promised in exchange for the release of all jailed protesters. The last of 234 jailed protesters were released this week under an amnesty that also called for opposition activists to end their occupation of government buildings in Kiev and elsewhere. (AP)
■ Japan released data Monday which showed economy grew 0.3 percent in the October-December quarter, well below the median estimate for a 0.7 percent increase as consumer spending, business investment and exports disappointed in a worrying sign of waning momentum ahead of a planned sales tax increase.
■ New software installed in the Ministry of the Interior's Department of Household Registration has been plagued by glitches and crashes ever since it went on line February 5, and on Sunday DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang had more bad news regarding the system. Tuan told reporters that the biggest problem with the new version of the registration system is that when branches of the department across the island break away from the department headquarters, automatic notification functions are disabled, turning the household registrations branches into what Tuan called "islands of information." (Taiwan News)
■ After Mainland Affairs Council Wang Yu-chi described his closed-door meeting with Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun Friday in Shanghai as a ‘coffee break’, the TSU Legislative caucus said it will submit a letter Monday calling for Wang to present a report on the meeting to the Legislative Yuan. (Taiwan News)
■ Opposition leaders called on former Vice President Lien Chan not to harm Taiwan's sovereignty during his meeting next week with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The encounter follows close on the past week's groundbreaking talks in Nanjing and Shanghai between Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi and Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun. (Taiwan News)
■ Nomintang Central Committee member Sean Lien, the elder son of former Vice President Lien Chan, will announce his bid for mayor of Taipei City on February 24, reports said Saturday. Since several other party members, including lawmakers Ting Shou-chung and Alex Tsai, also want to represent the ruling party in the November 29 election, Lien will most likely have to compete in a primary. (Taiwan News)
■ Former and current chairs Tsai Ing-wen and Su Tseng-chang, the "two suns" of the DPP, are drawing constant attention as the May date of the next election for the chairmanship nears. Su has said several times that he is not ready to make an announcement regarding his candidacy, but it is readily apparent that he is making preparations for a campaign. (Taiwan News)
■ Despite Sunday's respite from rainy, cold weather in the north of Taiwan, raindrops will start falling again on Wednesday along with the mercury as a cold air mass moves in from China, the Central Weather Bureau forecast Sunday. (CNA)
■ Investments could turn around to pick up in the second quarter, an economist at a leading think tank forecast Sunday, days after the government released the disappointing news that equipment and machinery imports shrank by 15 percent last month. (CNA)
■ Speaking to retired military officers and supporters of unification, President Ma Ying-jeou Sunday outlined Taiwan's efforts to streamline the military and maintain effective deterrence through strength instead of size. (CNA)
■ Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users surpassed those of feature phones for the first time in 2013, according to a market report. A total of 968 million smartphones were sold to end users worldwide in 2013, amounting to 53.6 percent of the overall mobile phone sales last year. (CNA)