The Thai stock market has finished higher now in three straight sessions, climbing more than 35 points or 3.3 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand settled just below the 1,195-point plateau, although now traders are bracing for a mild withdrawal when the market kicks off trade on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed, after closing out last week in similar fashion. Support may be drawn from solid quarterly results from big-name companies such as Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE), and McDonald's (MCD). Also, German business sentiment improved unexpectedly in April on rising optimism among manufacturers - although lingering uncertainty about the financial situation in Europe may cap the upside. The European markets finished higher on Friday and the U.S. bourses were mixed, and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.
The SET finished modestly higher on Friday following gains from the financial shares and the energy producers.
For the day, the index collected 9.26 points or 0.78 percent to finish at 1,194.60 after trading between 1,182.42 and 1,195.43. Volume was 3.377 billion shares worth 28.234 billion baht. There were 342 gainers and 187 decliners, with 159 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, energy giant PTT was up 0.85 percent, while PTT Global Chemicals added 0.36 percent, coal miner Banpu jumped 1.44 percent, Kasikornbank shed 1.27 percent and Bangkok Bank collected 0.52 percent.
The lead from Wall Street provides little guidance as upbeat earnings news moved stocks higher early on Friday, but buying interest waned in the afternoon. Traders subsequently sold into the rally, resulting in a mixed close for the markets.
The early strength on Wall Street was largely due to a positive reaction to quarterly results from big-name companies such as Microsoft (MSFT), General Electric (GE), and McDonald's (MCD).
Microsoft reported fiscal third quarter earnings of $0.60 per share, better than the consensus estimate of $0.58 per share. GE reported first quarter net earnings that fell year-over-year, although the diversified conglomerate reported adjusted earnings of $0.34 per share, a penny above analyst estimates. Fast food giant McDonald's reported first quarter earnings that rose to $1.23 per share from $1.15 per share in the year-ago quarter, in line with estimates.
Honeywell (HON), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and Capital One Financial (COF) were among the other well-known companies that reported better than expected quarterly results.
Trading activity was relatively subdued amid a lack of major U.S. economic data and lingering uncertainty about the financial situation in Europe. A notable drop by shares of Apple (AAPL) contributed to the pullback by the tech-heavy NASDAQ, with the tech giant closing down by 2.5 percent.
The major averages ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line, as the NASDAQ slipped 7.11 points or 0.2 percent to finish at 3,000.45, while the Dow rose 65.16 points or 0.5 percent to end at 13,029.26 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.61 points or 0.1 percent to 1,378.53. For the week, the major averages also turned in a mixed performance. While the NASDAQ fell by 0.4 percent, the Dow advanced by 1.4 percent and the S&P 500 rose by 0.6 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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