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Thai Stocks May Snap Winning Streak

The Thai stock market has closed higher now in three straight sessions, jumping more than 30 points or 3 percent in the process. The Stock Exchange of Thailand finished just below the 1,020-point plateau, although now analysts are predicting a modest correction to the downside when the market opens on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed, with renewed concerns over debt problems in Europe cancelling out general buying optimism. Financials are expected to see continued selling pressure, although technology stocks may offer some support. The European markets finished slightly lower and the U.S. bourses ended mixed but little changed - and the Asian markets are also expected to track slightly to the downside.

The SET finished sharply higher on Monday, riding strong gains from the energy producers.

For the day, the index surged 10.42 points or 1.03 percent to finish at 1,019.19 after trading between 1,011.83 and 1,020.34. Volume was 4.770 billion shares worth 31.028 billion baht. There were 227 gainers and 122 decliners, with 144 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the gainers, energy giant PTT was up 0.93 percent, while PTT Aromatic added 2.78 percent and PTT Chemical gained 1.23 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks ended on a mixed note on Monday. Traders waited for the federal hammer to fall on insider trading rings on Wall Street, and they also looked for further developments in the Irish debt debacle.

In a surge against the practice of insider trading on Wall Street, the FBI raided the offices of two hedge funds run by former managers of SAC Capital today, according to the Wall Street Journal. The lack of clarity over the targets of the government probe drove some selling in financial stocks on the day.

Meanwhile, in Europe, worries persisted that Ireland's delay in accepting rescue funds has further undermined the viability of the Euro. Fears about the financial and economic stability of the Eurozone are also being exacerbated by potential problems on the horizon in Spain and Portugal.

In corporate news, Tyson Foods (TSN) posted a 6.1 percent gain after its fourth quarter profit came in at $0.64 per share, topping estimates for earnings of $0.56 per share. The stock ended at $16.60, its best closing price in nearly two months.

Software firm Novell Inc. (NOVL) was also on the upside today after announcing that it agreed to be acquired by privately held peer Attachmate Corp. for $6.10 per share or about $2.2 billion in cash. Shares of Novell jumped 6.6 percent, bouncing off of the two and a half month closing low set last Friday.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) said after the markets closed that its fourth quarter profit rose 5 percent from last year, as revenue increased 8 percent due to strength in its server, PC and printer businesses. The company's quarterly earnings per share, excluding items, also came in above analysts' expectations. The Palo, Alto, California-based company reported GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of $2.5 billion or $1.10 per share, compared to $2.4 billion or $0.99 per share for the year-ago quarter.

The major averages all moved to the upside in late-session dealing, although only the tech-heavy NASDAQ managed to finish in positive territory. The NASDAQ gained 13.90 points or 0.6 percent to close at 2,532.02, while the Dow slid by 24.97 points or 0.2 percent to 11,178.58 and the S&P 500 declined by 1.89 points or 0.2 percent to 1,197.84.

In economic news, Thailand's economy slowed more than expected between July and September compared to the same period a year ago, official figures showed on Monday. The National Economic and Social Development Board said the economy grew 6.7 percent in the September, slower than the 9.2 percent growth in the preceding three months. Economists had forecast a 7.2 percent rise. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the Thai economy contracted 0.2 percent in the September quarter, following a 0.6 percent fall in the previous three months.

by RTT Staff Writer

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