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Thai Stock Market May Extend Winning Streak

The Thai stock market has moved higher in two straight sessions, collecting almost 20 points or 1.3 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just above the 1,600-point plateau and it may add to its winnings on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is positive thanks to solid economic data from the world's largest economies. The European and U.S. markets were up on Friday and the Asian bourses are expected to follow that lead.

The SET finished slightly higher on Friday following gains from the energy producers and a mixed picture from the financial sector.

For the day, the index rose 4.61 points or 0.29 percent to finish at 1,600.48 after trading between 1,595.96 and 1,604.28. Volume was 18.757 billion shares worth 61.064 billion baht. There were 823 gainers and 791 decliners, with 519 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Advanced Info jumped 1.88 percent, while Asset World tumbled 1.65 percent, Banpu dropped 0.85 percent, Bangkok Bank shed 0.32 percent, Bangkok Dusit Medical advanced 0.97 percent, Bangkok Expressway climbed 1.79 percent, BTS Group gained 1.47 percent, Charoen Pokphand Foods added 0.83 percent, Kasikornbank spiked 2.54 percent, Krung Thai Bank collected 0.61 percent, PTT Exploration and Production perked 0.38 percent, PTT Global Chemical gathered 0.90 percent, Siam Commercial Bank sank 0.85 percent, Siam Concrete was up 0.54 percent, TMB Bank dropped 1.27 percent and Thailand Airport and PTT were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is positive as stocks fluctuated Friday but still inched higher, sending the major averages to fresh record closing highs.

The Dow added 50.46 points or 0.17 percent to 29,348, while the NASDAQ gained 31.81 points or 0.34 percent to 9,388.94 and the S&P 500 rose 12.81 points or 0.39 percent to 3,329.62. For the week, the Sow added1.8 percent, the NASDAQ gained 2.3 percent and the S&P rose 2 percent.

The continued strength on Wall Street was widely attributed to Chinese GDP data even though the latest report showed China's economy grew at the slowest pace since 1990. But the GDP growth matched estimates, which suggested the impact of the U.S.-China trade war wasn't worse than feared.

In U.S. economic news, the Commerce Department noted a substantial increase in U.S. housing starts in December. Also, the Federal Reserve observed a modest pullback in U.S. industrial production last month.

Crude oil futures failed to hold early gains and settled near the flat line Friday as traders weighed demand and supply position in the market. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures ended at $58.54 a barrel, gaining 2 cents for the session after peaking earlier at $58.98 a barrel. For the week, crude oil futures shed about 0.8 percent.

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