Thai Shares Likely Headed South Again On Thursday

(RTTNews) - The Thai stock market inched higher again on Wednesday, one session after it had ended the four-day winning streak in which it had advanced more than 35 points or 2.1 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just above the 1,665-point plateau although it's expected to open in the red again on Thursday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild consolidation, with concerns over trade offset by support from crude oil prices. The European markets were down and the Asian markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian markets figure to split the difference.

The SET finished slightly higher on Wednesday following mixed performances from the financial shares and the energy producers.

For the day, the index added 1.71 points or 0.10 percent to finish at 1,665.27 after trading between 1,659.62 and 1,668.61. Volume was 14.815 billion shares worth 52.569 billion baht. There were 754 decliners and 631 gainers, with 507 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Advanced Info shed 0.54 percent, while Thailand Airport lost 0.36 percent, Banpu fell 0.61 percent, Bangkok Bank skidded 1.42 percent, Bangkok Medical added 0.42 percent, Bangkok Expressway dropped 0.93 percent, Charoen Pokphand Foods climbed 0.95 percent, Krung Thai Bank dipped 0.52 percent, PTT rose 0.51 percent, PTT Exploration and Production jumped 1.20 percent, PTT Global Chemical slid 0.68 percent, Siam Commercial Bank was down 0.37 percent and Kasikornbank and Siam Concrete were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is slightly soft as stocks showed a lack of direction on Wednesday, lingering near the unchanged line before closing mixed.

The Dow lost 72.82 points or 0.28 percent to finish at 25,985.16, the NASDAQ rose 5.21 points or 0.07 percent to 7,554.51 and the S&P 500 fell 1.52 points or 0.05 percent to 2,792.38.

Early weakness followed remarks from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, which offset recent optimism about the U.S.-China trade talks. He told the House Ways and Means Committee that China needs to go beyond pledging to buy more U.S. goods to reach to a long-term trade agreement.

Selling pressure waned as the day progressed, however, as traders kept an eye on Trump's second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, looking for more concrete signs of progress toward the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

In economic news, the National Association of Realtors said pending home sales rebounded more than expected in January. Also, the Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods rose less than anticipated in December.

Crude oil futures rose sharply on Wednesday, buoyed by data showing a significant drop in U.S. crude inventories last week. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for April ended up $1.44 or 2.6 percent at $56.94 a barrel.

Closer to home, Thailand will release January figures for imports, exports and trade balance later today, as well as Q4 current account data. In December, imports were worth $17.05 billion and exports were at $19.54 billion for a trade surplus of $2.48 billion. The current account surplus in Q3 was $4.21 billion.
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