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• On January 18 Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited (TSMC), the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry, reported net income which was 2.1 percent above average analysts’ estimates. The company also said a boom in the cryptocurrency market should drive demand for high-end chips outweighing softening sales to smartphone vendors. Shares of TSMC rose 1.3 percent in Taipei on the day.
• On January 31 Fujifilm Holdings Corp. reached an agreement with US-based document company Xerox Corp. to combine the companies and their longstanding Fuji Xerox joint venture after pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn. Under the terms of the agreement Fujifilm will own 50.1 percent of Xerox shares and the combined company will be named Fuji Xerox. Fujifilm also said that it will cut 10,000 jobs globally to deal with a decline in the photocopying business and that the combined company will see annual cost savings representing ten percent of total cost base over the next four years. Fujifilm shares fell 8.3 percent in Tokyo while Xerox rose 4.4 percent in New York trading on the day of the announcement.
• On February 1 Kyocera Corporation, a Japanese multinational ceramics and electronics manufacturer, cut the company’s full year net income forecast. The downward revision was due to the recording of tax expenses in Third Quarter 2017, primarily resulting from tax law revisions in the US. Kyocera’s share price dropped 6.6 percent on the day of the news.
• On February 23 Geely Automobile Holdings Limited said the company had amassed an almost ten percent stake in Daimler AG, the German automaker which owns Mercedes-Benz. Geely, which owns Volvo Cars among other brands, is China’s largest privately-owned automaker and now also Daimler’s single biggest shareholder. Geely seeks to forge an alliance with Daimler hoping to access technology, particularly for autonomous driving. In return, Geely has pledged to be a supportive long-term investor – something which Daimler says it is “pleased” about. Geely’s stock price rose 6.5 percent in Hong Kong trading on the news.
• On March 8 President Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un easing some investors’ worries about geopolitical tensions. South Korea’s KOSPI Stock Index rose 1.1 percent and Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.5 percent on the news.
• On March 12 India’s Tata Sons Limited announced the company will sell roughly 1.5 percent stake in its flagship Tata Consultancy Services Limited – India’s top services exporter – for $1.25 billion, about a five cent discount to previous day’s closing price. Tata’s stock fell 5.4 percent on the day.