Thai Stock Market May Extend Friday's Gains

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The Thai stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes through the last four trading days since the end of the three-day winning streak in which it had advanced almost 30 points or 1.7 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just above the 1,820-point plateau and it may tick higher again on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautiously optimistic, thanks to optimism that the U.S. government shutdown will end soon, although a fall in crude oil prices may weigh. The European and U.S. markets were up and the Asian bourses figure to follow suit.

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

For the day, the index added 2.02 points or 0.11 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,821.34 after moving as low as 1,803.55. Volume was 12.175 billion shares worth 78.059 billion baht. There were 776 decliners and 525 gainers, with 446 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Advanced Info added 0.52 percent, while Banpu plummeted 7.08 percent, Bangkok Bank shed 0.47 percent, Bangkok Medical jumped 1.44 percent, Krung Thai Bank lost 0.49 percent, PTT fell 0.42 percent, PTT Exploration and Production gained 0.88 percent, PTT Global Chemical tumbled 1.31 percent, Siam Commercial Bank plunged 2.23 percent, Siam concrete dipped 0.40 percent and Kasikornbank, Charoen Pokphand Foods, Thailand Airport and Bangkok Expressway were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as stocks moved higher on Friday, lifting the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 to new record closing highs.

The Dow rose 53.91 points or 0.21 percent to 26,071.72, while the NASDAQ advanced 40.33 points or 0.55 percent to 7,336.38 and the S&P 500 added 12.27 points or 0.44 percent to 2,810.30. For the week, the Dow and NASDAQ both surged 1 percent and the S&P 500 jumped 0.9 percent.

The strength came as optimism about the outlook for the economy and corporate earnings overshadowed concerns about a government shutdown as lawmakers failed to reach a last-minute agreement on a spending bill.

Traders seemed unfazed by a report from the University of Michigan showing an unexpected deterioration in consumer sentiment in January.

Crude oil prices continued to ease from recent four-year highs as February WTI oil was down 58 cents or 0.9 percent to settle at $63.37/bbl.