Based on the latest survey by WitsView, a research division of TrendForce, the MCI index slumped by 132.5 points to 6142.8 points from January 10, 2011 to January 24, 2011. The sharp declines were attributed to the persisting pessimistic market outlook toward the LCD panel sector, which can be summarized into the following points. First, impacted by the extreme weather events, such as the major snowstorms over parts of the US and Europe, and the severe flooding in Australia, retail sales of relevant LCD products were weaker-than-expected during the holiday season. Second, panel prices basically continued their downward trend. Third, the Tier 1 panel makers took a beating from the huge antitrust fines levied by the US and EU antitrust regulators. Specifically, the US Department of Justice and European Commission respectively handed out fines totaling 892 million USD and 648.9 million USD. Furthermore, there could be additional fines due to other pending cases. Among the major panel makers, LGD and CMI received the largest fines. The US Department of Justice respectively levied fines reaching 400 Mn USD and 220 Mn USD, while from the EU segment, it amounted to 215 Mn USD and 300 Mn USD. In general, hit by the sluggish panel prices and hefty antitrust fines, the market thus held a bearish outlook toward the panel makers’ 4Q10 earnings performance. LGD has been the first to report a quarterly net loss. In light of these negative factors, a more pronounced drop was seen in the MCI index over the past two weeks.
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