RTTNews - One day after ending the winning streak that had reached five sessions and helped it to collect more than two dozen points or 3.3 percent, the Thai stock market turned right back to the upside on Friday. The Stock Exchange of Thailand moved above the 655-point plateau, but now analysts are expecting a mild retreat at the opening of trade on Monday.

The global forecast for the Asian bourses is virtually flat after the markets finished generally higher last week. Tobacco, trucking and health care stocks are expected to fall under pressure, with perhaps a bit of support coming from the gold miners and other commodities. The European markets finished firmly in positive territory, while the U.S. bourses ended little changed - and the Asian markets are tipped to follow that latter lead.

The SET finished modestly higher on Friday, as usual riding the strength from the energy stocks and commodities.

For the day, the index collected 4.58 points or 0.70 percent to close at the daily high of 656.98 after dipping as low as 650.15. Volume was 3.307 billion shares worth 14.331 billion baht. There were 209 gainers and 129 decliners, with 129 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the gainers, energy giant PTT was up 1.23 percent, while PTT Aromatics added 3.17 percent, PTT Exploration and Production gained 1.79 percent and coal producer Banpu climbed 1.00 percent.

The lead from Wall Street offers little guidance as stocks turned in a lackluster performance over the course of the trading day on Friday after failing to sustain an early upward move. The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the tech-heavy NASDAQ closing modestly higher.

The initial strength in the markets came as traders reacted to positive news from the tech sector, with computer maker Dell (DELL) reporting better than expected quarterly results and semiconductor giant Intel (INTC) raising its third quarter guidance. Nonetheless, buying interest waned not long after the opening bell.

Traders largely shrugged off the day's economic data, including a report from Reuters and the University of Michigan that showed their final consumer sentiment index reading for August came in at 65.7 compared to the mid-month reading of 63.2. The revised index came in well above economist estimates of 64.0 but still below July's 66.0.

In a separate report, the Commerce Department said that personal income was nearly unchanged in July following a revised decrease of 1.1 percent in June. Economists had expected income to increase by 0.1 percent compared to the 1.3 percent drop originally reported for the previous month.

The report also showed that personal spending rose 0.2 percent in July compared to an upwardly revised 0.6 percent increase in the previous month. The modest increase came in line with economist estimates. With income unchanged and spending rising, personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income fell to 4.2 percent in July compared with 4.5 percent in June.

While the NASDAQ managed to end the session just above the unchanged line, the Dow and the S&P 500 posted modest losses. The NASDAQ closed up by 1.04 points or 0.1 percent at 2,028.77, while the Dow fell by 36.43 points or 0.4 percent to 9,544.20 and the S&P 500 dipped by 2.05 points or 0.2 percent to 1,028.93. Despite the mixed performance on the session, the major averages all closed modestly higher for the week. The Dow and the NASDAQ both rose 0.4 percent for the week, while the S&P 500 posted a weekly gain of 0.3 percent.

In economic news, Thailand will on Monday announce July numbers for imports, exports and trade balance, as well as current account and manufacturing production. Imports are expected to plunge 32.1 percent on year following the 26.3 percent annual contraction in June. Exports are called lower by 25.7 percent on year after the 26.4 percent annual decline in the previous month. The trade balance is expected to reflect a surplus of $857.9 million after the $939 million surplus a month earlier. The current account is expected to come in at $681.8 million after showing $477 million in June. Manufacturing production is forecast to contact 7 percent on year after falling 7.8 percent on year a month earlier.

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