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'Iron Man' star saves the day for HTC shares, but gains capped

'Iron Man' star saves the day for HTC shares, but gains capped

Taipei, Aug. 13 (CNA) Iron Man's alter ego Robert Downey, Jr. swept in to rescue HTC Corp.'s shares on Tuesday, a day after the Taiwan-based smartphone maker announced a new ad campaign centered on the Hollywood star. The company's shares were up somewhat, even though gains were limited by lingering concerns based on the company's late July statement that it could incur a net loss for the third quarter of this year, dealers said. Shares of HTC lifted 0.95 percent to end at NT$159.50 (US$5.32), off an early high of NT$163.00, with 11.74 million shares changing hands. The weighted index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange closed up 1.04 percent, at 7,986.27. "The contract with Robert Downey, Jr. showed HTC's ambitions to penetrate the global market, in particular in the United States, by taking advantage of the 'Iron Man' fame," Hua Nan Securities analyst Stan Chang said. At a Monday news briefing, Ben Ho, HTC's chief marketing officer, announced the two-year contract with Downey, who will star in five to six commercial videos to pitch the company's new products. Ho said the commercials will be released starting from Aug. 15 in several key markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, China, Australia and Taiwan. Local media has speculated that the two-year endorsement will cost HTC US$12 million. As of the first half of this year, the company has spent about US$470 million in marketing and plans to spend a total US$1 billion over the course of the year -- a figure little changed from 2012. "The presence of Downey is positive for HTC's international visibility, but concerns over its bottom line still haunted market sentiment so that the upside was limited," Chang said. HTC has predicted its third quarter operating profit could fall between zero and minus 8 percent, implying a possible net loss. HTC's consolidated sales for the third quarter are expected to range between NT$50 billion and NT$60 billion, down from the NT$70.7 billion recorded in the second quarter. The gloomy third quarter outlook left HTC shares under heavy downward pressure. Even with the latest rebound, the stock still closed under its issue price of NT$163.50 from when the stock was listed on the main board on March 26, 2002. "Many investors still want to see real numbers that show an improvement in HTC's shipments. Before that happens, it is unlikely for the stock to make a significant comeback," Chang said. (By Esme Jiang and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-05-12 00:55 GMT+08:00