RTTNews - The Thai stock market has finished lower now in two of three sessions since the four-day winning streak in which it added more than 35 points or 6.5 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand is clinging to support at 550 points, but now analysts are projecting that the market will see further easing at the opening of trade on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets offers little in the way of guidance as both the U.S. and United Kingdom markets were off Monday on holiday. Investors are likely to be spooked by the nuclear test conducted by North Korea and the worldwide condemnation that followed it, ratcheting up international tensions. The economic and corporate sectors provide no clear leads, so the Asian markets are expected to see little movement in thin trade.

The SET finished modestly lower on Monday, dragged to the downside by weakness among the financials and the energy stocks. For the day, the index dropped 3.51 points or 0.63 percent to close at 550.51 after trading between 547.60 and 558.36. Volume was 5.417 shares worth 20.406 billion baht.

Among the actives, energy giant PTT was off 1.40 percent, while PTT Aromatics added 3.12 percent, PTT Exploration and Production lost 1.59 percent, coal producer Banpu dropped 0.64 percent, Bangkok Bank lost 1.1 percent, Siam Commercial Bank fell 1.8 percent

The U.S .markets were closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day, but many of the European markets rose for the first time in three days as a rally among pharmaceutical stocks overshadowed a report that showed German business confidence rose less than expected in May.

A monthly survey conducted by the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research showed that German business confidence improved to 84.2 in May from 83.7 in April. However, the indicator stood below the expected reading of 85.

Crude for July delivery fell $0.62 to $61.05 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, by the time the European markets closed, as investors eyed an OPEC meeting this week and weighed evidence of a global economic recovery.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of pan-European blue chips closed 0.20 percent higher at 857.71 points, while the narrower DJ Stoxx 50 index rose 0.31 percent to 2,100.72 points. Around Europe, France's CAC 40 index rose 0.25 percent to 3,236.16, while Germany's DAX index fell 0.01 percent to 4,918.45. The U.K. market was closed for a holiday.

Sanofi-Aventis, France's biggest drug maker, surged up 1.6 percent after the company received a $190 million order for swine flu vaccine from the U.S. government. Swiss drug maker Roche climbed 1.6 percent after the company said its Mircera treatment helped anemia patients with chronic kidney disease in a study. Acciona jumped 2.5 percent after Celebi Hava Servisi, a Turkish provider of airport services, agreed to buy its ground-handling companies in Spain and Germany.

On the other hand, sports car maker Porsches slipped 3.1 percent after the company confirmed media reports that it received a ?700 million loan from Volkswagen to help with its finances. Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank, fell 1 percent after the country's financial regulator started a probe into potential violations the company uncovered in its corporate security department.

In economic news, the National Economic and Social Development Board said on Monday that the economy contracted dramatically by 7.1 percent year-on-year in the first quarter on declining exports and imports. The decrease was severe than the 4.2 percent decline seen in the fourth quarter.

Gross domestic product was down 1.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, much milder than the 6.1 percent contraction in the fourth quarter. Economists were expecting a 1.7 percent decline. By shrinking consecutively for the second straight quarter, the Thai economy entered recession in the first three months of the year.

The annual decline in GDP was mainly due to an 8.1 percent decrease in non-agricultural sector led by manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction, transportation, and hotels and restaurants. Agricultural sector grew 3.5 percent far better than a rise of 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

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