Win Streak May End For Thai Stock Market

The Thai stock market has tracked higher in consecutive trading days, advancing more than 15 points or 1 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just above the 1,605-point plateau although it may be stuck in neutral on Wednesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is flat to lower on concerns over the outlook for interest rates and the health of the banking sector. The European markets were slightly higher and the U.S. bourses were slightly lower and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The SET finished modestly higher on Tuesday following gains from the financial shares and the resource stocks.

For the day, the index gained 13.54 points or 0.85 percent to finish at 1,606.91 after trading between 1,599.92 and 1,607.75. Volume was 15.791 billion shares worth 44.702 billion baht. There were 971 gainers and 520 decliners, with 517 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Advanced Info rallied 0.94 percent, while Banpu jumped 1.85 percent, Bangkok Bank strengthened 1.64 percent, Bangkok Dusit Medical advanced 0.85 percent, Bangkok Expressway picked up 0.57 percent, B. Grimm accelerated 2.50 percent, BTS Group collected 0.70 percent, CP All Public rose 0.40 percent, Charoen Pokphand Foods increased 0.92 percent, Energy Absolute added 0.66 percent, Gulf gained 0.94 percent, Kasikornbank climbed 1.13 percent, Krung Thai Bank improved 1.20 percent, Krung Thai Card gathered 1.40 percent, PTT Oil & Retail was up 0.48 percent, PTT perked 0.80 percent, PTT Exploration and Production soared 4.17 percent, PTT Global Chemical rallied 1.62 percent, SCG Packaging spiked 2.13 percent, Siam Commercial Bank collected 0.99 percent, Siam Concrete perked 0.31 percent, Thai Oil surged 3.37 percent, True Corporation climbed 1.18 percent, TTB Bank skyrocketed 5.07 percent and Thailand Airport was unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is soft as the major averages opened mixed on Tuesday, but they all headed south throughout the session and ended in the red.

The Dow shed 37.83 points or 0.12 percent to finish at 32,394.25, while the NASDAQ sank 52.76 points or 0.45 percent to end at 11,716.08 and the S&P 500 fell 6.26 points or 0.16 percent to close at 3,971.27.

The weakness that emerged on Wall Street reflected ongoing concerns about the outlook for interest rates amid a continued increase in treasury yields as the 10-year yield climbed further off last Friday's six-month closing low.

In economic news, the Conference Board unexpectedly reported a slight improvement in U.S. consumer confidence in March.

Crude oil prices climbed higher Tuesday on easing concerns about global banking sector woes, lifting the most active oil futures contract to a two-week closing high. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for May ended higher by $0.39 or 0.5 percent at $73.20 a barrel.

Closer to home, Thailand will release February numbers for imports, exports and trade balance later today. Imports are expected to rise 2.1 percent, down from 5.5 percent in January. Exports are called lower by an annual 7.0 percent after slipping 4.5 percent in the previous month. The trade deficit is pegged at $1.90 billion following the $4.65 billion shortfall a month earlier.

Also, the central bank in Thailand will wrap up its monetary policy meeting and then announce its decision on interest rates. The central bank is expected to hike its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points, from 1.50 percent to 1.75 percent.

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