The Thai stock market turned higher again on Wednesday, one day after it had snapped the two-day winning streak in which it had collected more than 20 points or 1.7 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand ended just above the 1,285-point plateau, and now investors are looking at a flat lead when the market opens on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside, thanks to upbeat economic data from the U.S. and residual optimism from the Bank of Japan's stimulus measures that were announced on Wednesday. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that housing starts rebounded in August, while the National Association of Realtors said that existing home sales jumped by more than expected. Yesterday, the Bank of Japan announced a fresh round of stimulus to revive the economy by expanding the asset purchase by another JPY 10 trillion. The European and U.S. markets inched higher, and the Asian markets are tipped to follow suit.
The SET finished sharply higher on Wednesday following gains from the energy producers and the financial shares.
For the day, the index jumped 12.60 points or 0.99 percent to finish at 1,285.46 after trading between 1,273.60 and 1,285.55. Volume was 6.912 billion shares worth 36.277 billion baht. There were 368 gainers and 176 decliners, with 167 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, energy giant PTT was up 0.59 percent, while PTT Exploration and Production jumped 1.90 percent, PTT Global Chemicals gathered 0.78 percent, coal miner Banpu added 0.45 percent, Siam Concrete spiked 1.99 percent, Bangkok Bank was flat, Kasikornbank collected 1.10 percent and Siam Commercial Bank climbed 1.56 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is cautiously optimistic as stocks moved modestly higher on Wednesday, although buying interest remained subdued. Lingering uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets helped to keep traders on the sidelines.
The modest strength followed news of additional stimulus from the Bank of Japan, although the bank's decision to increase its asset purchase program by 10 trillion yen was largely seen as symbolic since the purchases are exclusively earmarked for 2013.
On the economic front, the U.S. Commerce Department said that housing starts rose 2.3 percent to an annual rate of 750,000 in August from the revised July estimate of 733,000. Economists had expected 768,000 from the 746,000 originally reported for the previous month. Building permits, an indicator of future housing demand, fell 1.0 percent to an annual rate of 803,000 in August from 811,000 in July.
A separate report from the National Association of Realtors showed that existing home sales jumped by more than expected in August, reaching their highest level since May of 2010. Existing home sales jumped 7.8 percent to an annual rate of 4.82 million in August from 4.47 million in July, beating forecasts for an annual rate of 4.55 million.
Among individual stocks, Cracker Barrel (CBRL), AutoZone (AZO), and General Mills (GIS) all ended the day notably higher after reporting their quarterly results before the start of trading.
The major U.S. averages ended Wednesday with slim gains as the Dow inched up 13.32 points or 0.1 percent to finish at 13,577.96, while the NASDAQ crept up 4.82 points or 0.2 percent to end at 3,182.62 and the S&P 500 edged up 1.73 points or 0.1 percent to close at 1,461.05.
by RTT Staff Writer
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