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Higher Open Tipped For Thai Stock Market

The Thai stock market has moved higher now in consecutive trading days, rising more than 15 points or 1 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand settled just below the 1,450-point plateau, and now traders are looking for the market to extend its gains when it opens on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic with bargain hunting - particularly among the technology stocks - expected to boost the markets. Upbeat employment data from the U.S. adds to the positive sentiment. However, Microsoft reported after Thursday's bell that profit was down, although it still beat estimates - keeping technology stocks in focus. The European markets were higher and the U.S. bourses were mixed - and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.

The SET finished modestly higher on Thursday as the financial shares and the energy producers were mostly higher.

For the day, the index climbed 9.89 points or 0.69 percent to finish at 1,449.09 after trading between 1,437.73 and 1,450.80. Volume was 21.661 billion shares worth 48.538 billion baht. There were 457 gainers and 171 decliners, with 135 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, energy giant PTT was down 0.60 percent, while PTT Exploration and Production was flat, PTT Global Chemicals jumped 1.28 percent, coal miner Banpu shed 0.51 percent, Siam Concrete dropped 1.79 percent, Thai Airways added 0.90 percent, Bangkok Bank fell 0.26 percent, Kasikornbank was unchanged and Siam Commercial Bank collected 0.57 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is mixed as stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Thursday, with traders weighing upbeat jobs data and earnings news against disappointing quarterly results from tech giant Apple (AAPL).

The tech-heavy NASDAQ posted a notable loss due in large part to a steep drop by shares of Apple, with the iPad and iPhone maker falling by 12.4 percent to its lowest closing level in a year.

After the close of trading on Wednesday, Apple reported better than expected first quarter earnings but on weaker than expected sales. The company also reported iPhone sales that missed expectations and provided disappointing second quarter revenue guidance.

Meanwhile, most stocks moved higher after the Labor Department said that initial jobless claims unexpectedly dipped to 330,000 last week, a decrease of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 335,000. Economists had expected claims to climb to 355,000 - but instead fell to their lowest level since 318,000 in the week ended January 19, 2008.

Additionally, shares of Netflix (NFLX) moved sharply higher after the online video service provider reported an unexpected Q4 profit. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY), Xerox (XRX), and United Continental (UAL) also posted notable gains after reporting their quarterly results before the start of trading.

The major U.S. averages were mixed as the NASDAQ fell 23.29 points or 0.7 percent to finish at 3,130.38, while the S&P 500 inched up 0.01 points or less than a tenth of a percent to end at 1,494.82 and the Dow rose 46.00 points or 0.3 percent to close at 13,825.33.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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