RTTNews - The Thai stock market has alternated between positive and negative finishes over the last four sessions, since ending the two-day losing streak that had cost it more than 20 points or 3.5 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand regained support at 640 points, and now analysts say the market is likely to continue to see broadly based buying when it kicks off trade on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly optimistic as the markets are expected to extend the gains that were nearly region-wide a day earlier. Financials and properties are predicted to continue their recovery from the savage selloff earlier in the week. The European and U.S. markets finished solidly higher, and the Asian markets are expected to track those gains.

For the day, the index jumped 9.70 points or 1.54 percent to close at 640.98 after trading between 637.49 and 645.10. Volume was 4.937 billion shares worth 19.779 billion baht. There were 281 gainers and 60 decliners, with 114 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the gainers, energy giant PTT was up 1.72 percent, while PTT Exploration and Production collected 2.18 percent, PTT Aromatic gained 3.12 percent, PTT Chemical added 1.95 percent, coal producer Banpu was up 1.52 percent, Siam Cement climbed 2.70 percent, Siam Commercial Bank added 1.64 percent and Kasikornbank gained 1.75 percent.

The lead from Wall Street is firmly positive as stocks saw strong gains on Thursday, helped by some upbeat news from the manufacturing sector that helped to offset a disappointing jobs report. The major averages all finished in positive territory by solid margins, extending their gains for a third straight session.

Some buying interest was generated by the release of a report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve saying that manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region showed some signs of stabilization. The Philly Fed said its index of current activity rose to 4.2 in August from a negative 7.5 in July, with a positive reading indicating growth in the sector. Economists had been expecting a more modest increase to a negative 2.0. With the bigger than expected increase, the index rose above zero for the first time since September of 2008 and reached its highest level since November of 2007.

Separately, research group the Conference Board said that its leading economic indicators index increased for the fourth consecutive month in July, signifying a likely improvement in economic conditions in the near term. The index of leading economic indicators rose 0.6 percent in July following a 0.7 percent increase in June.

Earlier, the Labor Department released a report showing that first-time claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly increased to 576,000 in the week ended August 15 from the previous week's revised figure of 561,000. The increase came as a surprise to economists, who had expected jobless claims to edge down to 550,000 from the 558,000 originally reported for the previous week. Despite the recent concerns regarding the battered labor market, the disappointing data saw little reaction.

On the earnings front, traders also digested quarterly results from Sears Holdings (SHLD), NetApp (NTAP), PetSmart (PETM), Rio Tinto Group (RTP) and Heinz (HNZ), among others.

The major averages reached new highs for the session in the final hour of trading, but they gave back some ground going into the close. The Dow closed up by 70.89 points or 0.8 percent at 9,350.05, the NASDAQ climbed by 19.98 points or 1 percent to 1,989.22 and the S&P 500 rose by 10.91 points or 1.1 percent to 1,007.37.

In economic news, the central bank of Thailand is scheduled to release weekly foreign reserves numbers for the seven days ended August 14. Analysts are predicting an increase of 122.8 percent on year following the 123.1 percent annual expansion in the previous week.

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