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Soft Start Anticipated For Thai Stock Market

The Thai stock market headed south again on Wednesday, one day after halting the four-day losing streak in which it had slumped more than 40 points or 2.7 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now sits just above the 1,560-point plateau and it's expected to remain in that neighborhood again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed to lower on fears of continued policy tightening and worldwide recession. The European and U.S. markets were down and the Asian markets are expected to open in similar fashion.

The SET finished modestly lower on Wednesday following losses among the financial shares and the energy producers.

For the day, the index dropped 14.50 points or 0.92 percent to finish at 1,560.02 after trading between 1,551.42 and 1,572.66. Volume was 21.192 billion shares worth 68.260 billion baht. There were 1,433 decliners and 386 gainers, with 344 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Advanced Info declined 1.49 percent, while Thailand Airport fell 0.36 percent, Asset World slid 0.41 percent, Banpu shed 0.78 percent, Bangkok Bank tumbled 1.85 percent, Bangkok Medical slumped 1.21 percent, Bangkok Expressway tanked 2.23 percent, B. Grimm lost 0.70 percent, BTS Group surrendered 1.18 percent, CP All Public dropped 1.67 percent, Charoen Pokphand Foods and PTT Oil & Resource both were down 0.95 percent, EA Energy stumbled 2.08 percent, Gulf skidded 1.05 percent, IRPC climbed 1.27 percent, Kasikornbank gave away 1.00 percent, Krung Thai Bank lost 1.28 percent, Krung Thai Card advanced 0.87 percent, PTT Exploration and Production plummeted 3.07 percent, Siam Commercial Bank tanked 2.86 percent, Siam Concrete rose 0.28 percent, SCG Packaging jumped 1.44 percent, True Corporation shed 1.26 percent, TTB Bank was down 0.79 percent and Thai Oil, PTT and PTT Global Chemical were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street ends up slightly negative as the major averages opened lower on Wednesday, then spent most of the day in the green before slipping back into negative territory at the close.

The Dow shed 47.12 points or 0.15 percent to finish at 30,483.13, while the NASDAQ lost 16.22 points or 0.15 percent to close at 11,053.08 and the S&P 500 dipped 4.90 points or 0.13 percent to end at 3,759.89.

The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders reacted to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee. Powell indicated the Fed plans to continue moving expeditiously to combat inflation but argued the U.S. economy is strong enough to handle tighter monetary policy.

Powell said the pace of future interest rate hikes will be dependent on incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy and suggested the Fed will need to see "compelling evidence" that inflation is slowing before it begins to scale back its monetary policy tightening plans.

Crude oil futures tumbled on Wednesday amid concerns about the outlook for energy demand due to slowing global growth following sharp interest rate hikes by central banks. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for August ended lower by $3.33 or 3 percent at $106.19 a barrel, the lowest settlement in six weeks.

Closer to home, Thailand will release May numbers for imports, exports and trade balance later today. Imports are expected to rise 16.75 percent on year, slowing from 21.5 percent in April. Exports are called higher by an annual 6.7 percent, down from 9.9 percent in the previous month. The trade deficit is pegged at $1.3 billion following the $1.91 billion shortfall a month earlier.

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