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Thai Stock Market May Test Resistance At 1,200 Points

The Thai stock market turned right back to the upside again on Friday, one session after it had halted the two-day winning streak in which it had risen almost 20 points or 1.9 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand finished just below the 1,195-point plateau, and now analysts are predicting continued upside at the opening of trade on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a slight upside bias, with disappointing economic data from the United States offset by solid corporate earnings news. The European markets were mixed but little changed and the U.S. bourses ended slightly higher - and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The SET finished slightly higher on Friday following gains from the energy producers and mixed bag from the financial shares.

For the day, the index collected 3.44 points or 0.29 percent to finish at 1,194.44 after trading between 1,179.49 and 1,197.04. Volume was 4.9i82 billion shares worth 30.830 billion baht. There were 268 gainers and 233 decliners, with 161 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, energy giant OTT was up 0.58 percent, while PTT Global Chemicals surged 1.74 percent, Siam Commercial Bank shed 1.36 percent, Kasikornbank fell 1.94 percent and Bangkok Bank collected 1.07 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers mild support as stocks finished a choppy day of trading in positive territory on Friday, overcoming an early dip to end the session with modest gains.

Shares dropped in early trading, threatening to continue a bout of profit taking that has marked most of the week. The morning slide came on the heels of disappointing new home sales data, which showed an unexpected decline for February. New home sales fell 1.6 percent in February, dropping to a pace of 313,000 homes. Prices were up, however, climbing 8.3 percent to $233,700.

On the corporate scene, Darden Restaurants (DRI) said its quarterly profit rose 8 percent from last year. The bottom line at the owner of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurant chains was boosted by sales that climbed to $2.2 billion from about $2 billion last year.

Micron Technology (MU) announced a loss for its latest quarter, reversing a profit posted in the same period last year. Sales and margins at the memory chip maker both deteriorated.

Nike (NKE) revealed a quarterly profit that rose 7 percent from last year. The athletic shoe maker said its revenue jumped 15 percent to nearly $5.9 billion.

IT services company Accenture (ACN) reported a stronger-than-expected rise in its quarterly profit. The company benefited from revenue growth across all operating groups. Accenture also raised its expectations for the full year.

Stocks quickly snapped back, although it took the NASDAQ most of the day to get back into positive territory. The major averages eventually finished the session higher. The Dow gained 34.59 points or 0.27 percent to finish at 13,080.73, while the NASDAQ advanced 4.60 points or 0.15 percent to end at 3,067.92. The S&P 500 climbed 4.33 points or 0.31 percent to close at 1,397.11.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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