Plus   Neg

Thai Stock Market Called Lower On Tuesday

The Thai stock market on Monday ended the three-day winning streak in which it had risen more than 35 points or 3.3 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand settled just below the 1,190-point plateau, although now analysts are predicting additional selling pressure at the opening of trade on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets remains bleak, thanks largely to concerns from Europe. Of concern, the Spanish economy slipped back into recession in the first quarter of 2012, fueling concerns that the country may fail to meet the deficit targets. On the political front, investors worried that the turmoil in the Netherlands may cause the country to lose its AAA rating. The European and U.S. markets finished firmly in the red, and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.

The SET finished modestly lower on Monday following losses from the financial shares and the energy producers.

For the day, the index declined 5.25 points or 0.44 percent to finish at 1,189.35 after trading between 1,186.46 and 1,201.12. Volume was 3.950 billion shares worth 24.800 billion baht. There were 284 decliners and 230 gainers, with 160 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the decliners, energy giant PTT was down 1.98 percent, while coal miner Banpu shed 1.06 percent, Bangkok Bank plunged 3.11 percent and Kasikornbank fell 1.28 percent.

The lead from Wall Street suggests further consolidation as stocks saw considerable weakness on Monday, although they ended the session well off their worst levels of the day. Troubling news from overseas weighed on the markets in early trading, but selling pressure waned as they day progressed.

Bank of Spain said that gross domestic product shrank 0.4 percent on quarter. This followed a 0.3 percent fall in the fourth quarter, which was the first decline in activity since the final three months of 2009.

Traders also reacted negatively to news that French President Nicolas Sarkozy came in second in a first round of voting, losing to socialist Francois Hollande. Sarkozy is expected to face an uphill battle in a run-off election against Hollande on May 6, raising concerns about a setback to efforts to diffuse the European debt crisis.

Among individual stocks, shares of Kellogg (K) came under pressure after the cereal market lowered its full-year 2012 financial guidance based on a weaker-than-expected first quarter performance. Kellogg fell by 6.1 percent to a two-month closing low.

Retail giant Wal-Mart (WMT) also posted a notable loss on the day, sliding by 4.7 percent after the New York Times reported on bribery allegations at the company's Mexico unit. Wal-Mart confirmed that it is probing possible violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Pfizer (PFE) posted a more modest loss after the drug giant announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its infant nutrition business to Nestlé for $11.85 billion in cash.

The major averages climbed well off their lows for the session but still closed firmly in negative territory. The Dow closed down 102.09 points or 0.8 percent to finish at 12,927.17, while the NASDAQ fell 30.00 points or 1 percent to 2,970.45 and the S&P 500 dropped 11.59 points or 0.8 percent to 1,366.94.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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