Summary Box: TSMC reports shrinking profit in 3Q

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THE RESULTS: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chip maker, says its earnings dropped by more than a third in the latest quarter.

WHAT’S BEHIND THAT: Uncertainties about the global economy was a factor. The company says its customers are either uncertain about their outlook or expecting a weaker first quarter of 2012.

WHAT THE COMPANY DOES: It supplies chips for use in gadgets including Apple’s iPhones and iPads. Shipments have declined for chips used in computers, consumer and industrial electronics, while handset chips sales have expanded.