The Thai stock market has finished higher now in back-to-back sessions, jumping more than 20 points or 1.9 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand finished just above the 1,075-point plateau, but now traders figure to lock in gains when the market opens on Monday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests a mild withdrawal following uninspired gross domestic product figures from the United States and lingering debt concerns from Europe. Some of the regional bourses are ripe for profit-taking, adding to the cautious sentiment while prompting support for gold as a safe haven. The European markets finished lower on Friday and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed - and the Asian markets are also expected to slide.
The SET finished modestly higher on Friday following solid gains from the financial shares and the energy producers.
For the day, the index climbed 7.75 points or 0.73 percent to finish at 1,076.29 after trading between 1,070.25 and 1,078.01. Volume was 3.884 billion shares worth 27.733 billion baht. There were 256 gainers and 195 decliners, with 165 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the gainers, energy giant PTT was up 1.51 percent, while PTT Global Chemicals jumped 1.98 percent, Siam Concrete surged 3.33 percent, coal miner Banpu jumped 2.05 percent, Bangkok Bank added 0.33 percent and Kasikornbank collected 0.40 percent.
Wall Street puts forth little guidance as stocks were lackluster on Friday with traders digesting weaker than expected U.S. economic growth in the final three months of last year.
Before the start of trading, the Commerce Department said GDP increased at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the 1.8 percent growth seen in the third quarter - but shy of expectations for an increase of 3.1 percent. Economists were also disappointed that much of the GDP growth in the fourth quarter was due to a positive contribution from private inventory investment.
However, Reuters and the University of Michigan said their consumer sentiment index for January was upwardly revised to a reading of 75.0 from the mid-month reading of 74.0, coming in well above the final December reading of 69.9. The revised reading also marked an eleven-month high for the consumer sentiment index, which is at its best level since coming in at 77.5 last February.
Among individual stocks, auto giant Ford (F) fell by 4.2 percent after reporting weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings due to weakness overseas. Procter & Gamble (PG) also ended the day in the red after the consumer products giant reported a sharp drop in fourth quarter earnings and lowered its full-year earnings guidance.
Meanwhile, Honeywell (HON) rose by 0.8 percent after reporting fourth quarter earnings that came in just above analyst estimates on revenues that came in slightly below expectations.
The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ closing in positive territory. The NASDAQ rose 11.27 points or 0.4 percent to 2,816.55, while the Dow fell 74.17 points or 0.6 percent to 12,660.46 and the S&P 500 slipped 2.11 points or 0.2 percent to 1,316.32. For the week, the major averages also turned in a mixed performance. While the Dow fell by 0.5 percent, the NASDAQ advanced by 1.1 percent and the S&P 500 edged up by 0.1 percent.
On the economic front, Thailand's industrial production declined sharply in December as manufacturing units remained closed after severe flooding. The Ministry of Industry's Office of Industrial Economics said on Friday that production fell 25.8 percent year-on-year in December. But the decrease was smaller than the above 45 percent decline seen in the previous month and less severe than the 30 percent fall forecast by economists.
Last week, the Bank of Thailand reduced the policy rate by 0.25 percent to 3.00 percent to spur economic growth, hit hard by widespread flooding during October last year and a slowdown in global demand.
by RTT Staff Writer
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