Thai Stock Market May See Traction On Wednesday

The Thai stock market has moved lower now in two straight sessions, tumbling almost 25 points or 1.6 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand settled just above the 1,530-point plateau, although the market figures to be due for support on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is muddled ahead of today's monetary policy statement from the Federal Reserve, plus growing geopolitical concerns. The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses were mixed but little changed - and the Asian markets are expected to split the difference.

The SET finished sharply lower on Tuesday following heavy damage among the financial shares and the energy producers.

For the day, the index tumbled 17.30 points or 1.12 percent to finish at 1,531.53 after trading between 1,525.92 and 1,549.53. Volume was 8.714 billion shares worth 48.747 billion baht. There were 753 decliners and 265 gainers, with 163 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, coal miner Banpu was unchanged, while Bangkok Bank dropped 2.14 percent, Kasikornbank tumbled 2.78 percent, energy giant PTT was flat, PTT Exploration and Production shed 0.83 percent, PTT Global Chemical dipped 0.40 percent, Siam Commercial Bank plunged 2.11 percent and Siam Concrete was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as stocks were relatively lackluster on Tuesday, with the major averages eventually ending on opposite sides of the unchanged line.

The NASDAQ fell 4.82 points or 0.1 percent to 5,055.42, while the Dow climbed 72.17 points or 0.4 percent to 18,110.14 and the S&P 500 rose 5.84 points or 0.3 percent to 2,114.76.

The early volatility followed reports that Iranian forces seized a cargo ship flagged to the Marshall Islands in the Strait of Hormuz. A U.S. Navy destroyer has been ordered to the region to keep an eye on the situation.

Uncertainty about the Fed's monetary policy announcement later today also weighed. While the Fed is expected to keep interest rates unchanged, traders will be paying close attention to any hints regarding the outlook for rates.

On the economic front, the Conference Board reported an unexpected pullback in U.S. consumer confidence in April.

Corporate earnings news was mixed, with Twitter (TWTR) and Whirlpool (WHR) missing the mark, while Merck (MRK) beat expectations.

Closer to home, the central bank in Thailand will wrap up its monetary policy meeting today and then announce its decision on interest rates; the bank is widely expected to keep its benchmark lending rate on hold at 1.75 percent.

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