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Rally May Stall For Thai Stock Market

The Thai stock market has closed higher now in two straight sessions, adding almost 15 points or 1.3 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand finished just above the 1,210-point plateau, and now investors are bracing for renewed selling pressure when the market opens on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests modest consolidation following disappointing economic news from Europe and the United States. The deficit situation in Spain is a growing concern as public debt is expected to reach 78.9 percent of GDP in 2012. In addition, the minutes of the U.S. FOMC's March meeting seemed to indicate that the members were less willing to initiate another round of quantitative easing. The European and U.S. markets finished firmly in the red, and the Asian markets are expected to follow suit.

The SET finished sharply higher on Tuesday following solid gains from the financial shares and the energy producers.

For the day, the index jumped 11.98 points or 1.00 percent to finish at 1,211.07 after trading between 1,204.49 and 1,213.57. Volume was 3.711 billion shares worth 30.378 billion baht. There were 318 gainers and 201 decliners, with 153 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the gainers, energy giant PTT was up 0.56 percent, while PTT Exploration and Production jumped 1.70 percent, PTT Global Chemicals added 0.36 percent, Siam Commercial Bank surged 4.20 percent, Kasikornbank collected 3.21 percent and Bangkok Bank spiked 2.70 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is negative as stocks moved lower on Tuesday, with considerable selling pressure emerging in afternoon trading following the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting.

The minutes of the Fed's March meeting seemed to indicate that the members were less willing to initiate another round of quantitative easing amid signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. The latest minutes said only "a couple of members" indicated that additional stimulus could become necessary, compared to the minutes of the January meeting, which said "a few members" believed that conditions could warrant additional securities purchases.

Also, the Commerce Department reported that factory orders rebounded by slightly less than expected in February. New orders for manufactured goods rose 1.3 percent in February following a 1.1 percent drop in January. Economists had expected an increase of 1.5 percent.

Traders also digested the release of monthly sales results from the nation's major auto manufacturers, with sales rising due in part to increased demand for smaller cars amid the recent surge in gas prices. Chrysler reported a 34 percent jump in auto sales in March, while General Motors (GM) said its sales rose by 12 percent and Ford (F) said its sales increased by 5 percent.

Meanwhile, Molson Coors Brewing (TAP) fell by 5.4 percent after the company announced an agreement to acquire European brewer StarBev for approximately $3.5 billion.

The major averages climbed well off their worst levels going into the close but still ended the day in the red. The Dow fell 64.94 points or 0.5 percent to finish at 13,199.55, while the NASDAQ edged down 6.13 points or 0.2 percent to end at 3,113.57 and the S&P 500 slid 5.73 points or 0.4 percent to 1,413.31.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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