RTTNews - The Thai stock market has closed higher now in two straight sessions since it ended the four-day winning streak in which it had collected nearly 25 points or 3.5 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand remained above the 620-point level, and investors are expecting the market to move in a fairly tight range when it opens on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets offers little in the way of guidance as commodities and financials are tipped to continue to rise, but weakness among the technology shares could erase those gains. The European and U.S. markets finished in mixed fashion, although not too far from the unchanged line in either direction - and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow that lead.

The SET finished slightly higher on Friday, as the heavily weighted energy sector ended in mixed fashion. Gains among the financial stocks were enough to nudge the market into positive territory.

For the day, the index added 2.05 points or 0.33 percent to close at 624.00 after trading between 621.70 and 629.41. Volume was 2.745 billion shares worth 21.375 billion baht. There were 176 gainers and 144 decliners, with 128 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, energy giant PTT eased 0.42 percent, while PTT Chemical jumped 3.90 percent, PTT Aromatic shed 1.01 percent, coal producer Banpu added 1.90 percent, Kasikornbank gained 1.05 percent, Siam Commercial Bank was up 0.98 percent and Siam Cement surged 5.14 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is inconclusive as stocks finished Friday's session on a mixed note after a shaky start prompted by gross domestic product figures for the second quarter. The major averages closed on opposite sides of the unchanged mark amid another session that was marred by low volume, typical of the summer.

Early trading was swayed by an advance report on second quarter gross domestic product from the Commerce Department. While the report revealed that the U.S. economy continued to shrink by a slower than expected margin, trader concern grew as consumer consumption came in far lower than expected. According to the data, gross domestic product fell at a pace of 1 percent for the second quarter after economists had expected GDP to fall at a rate of 1.5 percent. Some pessimism was generated by the personal consumption figure in the report, which showed a decrease of 1.2 percent, significantly more than economists had been expecting. This followed a 0.6 percent increase in the first quarter.

Later in the morning, traders largely shrugged off the Institute of Supply Management-Chicago's manufacturing index for July, which came in slightly higher than expected at 43.4. Economists expected the business barometer index to come in at 43 after rising by 5 points to 39.9 in June.

With earnings season drawing to a close, Disney (DIS) and Monster Worldwide (MWW) reported earnings that beat forecasts, while oil giant Chevron (CVX) disappointed. The season's earnings results largely beat expectations, but for the most part due to cost cutting measures rather than revenue growth in a market constricted by the recession.

After hovering in positive territory throughout much of the trading session, the major averages ended the day on opposite sides of the unchanged line. The tech heavy NASDAQ fell by 5.80 points or 0.3 percent to 1,978.50, while the Dow closed up by 17.15 points or 0.2 percent at 9,171.61 and the S&P 500 rose 0.73 points or 0.1 percent to 987.48. Despite the mixed performance for the session, the major averages all closed higher for the week due largely to Thursday's rally. The Dow rose 0.9 percent for the week, while the NASDAQ and the S&P 500 posted weekly gains of 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.

In economic news, Thailand will on Monday release July figures for inflation. Overall CPI is expected to fall 4.3 percent on year after the 4 percent contraction in June. Core CPI is called lower by 1 percent - the same rate of decline as in the previous month.

Also, Thailand's current account surplus in the second quarter was $2.29 billion, down from a surplus of $2.40 billion in the first quarter, the Bank of Thailand said on Friday. The trade balance recorded a $3.89 billion surplus in the second quarter, as imports fell 32.3 percent year-on-year and exports plunged 26.1 percent.

In June, the current account surplus was $477 million, smaller than $1.39 billion surplus recorded in May. The trade balance registered a surplus of $939 million. Export value slumped 26.4 percent year-on-year and import value dropped 26.3 percent.

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