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Thai Market Likely To Remain Rangebound

The Thai stock market had alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last six trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had gathered more than 15 points or 1 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just above the 1,570-point plateau, and the market may inch higher again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is upbeat thanks to positive economic data, although stagnant crude oil prices may limit the upside. The European and U.S. markets were up, and the Asian markets figure to open in similar fashion.

The SET finished slightly higher on Wednesday as gains from the energy producers were capped by weakness from the financials and cement stocks.

For the day, the index gained 1.13 points or 0.07 percent to finish at 1,573.37 after trading between 1,560.67 and 1,574.91. Volume was 13.544 billion shares worth 66.079 billion baht. There were 839 decliners and 444 gainers, with 346 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Airport of Thailand tumbled 1.27 percent, while coal miner Banpu jumped 2.08 percent, Bangkok Bank and Krung Thai Bank were unchanged, Bangkok Expressway added 0.71 percent, Kasikornbank fell 0.77 percent, PTT spiked 2.85 percent, PTT Exploration and Production advanced 1.64 percent, PTT Global Chemical surged 3.70 percent and Siam Concrete lost 0.38 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks moved higher on Wednesday, extending gains to set fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 107.45 points or 0.5 percent to 20,611.86, while the NASDAQ advanced 36.87 points or 0.6 percent to 5,819.44 and the S&P 500 rose 11.67 points or 0.5 percent to 2,349.25.

The strength followed a slew of economic data, including a Commerce Department report showing stronger than expected retail sales growth in January. Also, the Labor Department said that consumer prices increased more than expected in January.

Also, the Federal Reserve noted an unexpected drop in industrial production in January, while the National Association of Home Builders unexpectedly showed a continued decrease in homebuilder confidence in February.

Crude oil prices inched lower Wednesday, holding in a stubborn trading range after government data confirmed U.S. inventories at record highs. WTI light sweet crude oil for March settled down 9 cents at $53.11.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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