RTTNews - The Thai stock market on Thursday snapped the two-day losing streak in which it had lost just 2 points or 0.2 percent in coming down from an 11-month closing high. The Stock Exchange of Thailand is closing on the 650-point level, although analysts warn of a mild retreat by the opening of trade on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is cautious as many of the regional bourses are likely waiting on Friday's U.S. non-farm payroll data. Technology and steel stocks are expected to see some mild easing, along with the airlines and healthcare sectors. Modest support is predicted from retail stocks. European stocks finished slightly higher, while the U.S. markets ended firmly in the red - and the Asian markets are also projected to open lower.
The SET finished sharply higher on Thursday, boosted by big gains among the energy stocks and more modest additions from the financials.
For the day, the index added 9.05 points or 1.41 percent to close at 649.21 after trading between 637.72 and 649.87. Volume was 2.904 billion shares worth 24.786 billion baht. There were 217 gainers and 101 decliners, with 130 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, energy giant PTT jumped 3.23 percent, while PTT Aromatics surged 5.10 percent, PTT Exploration and Production added 2.13 percent, PTT Chemical eased 0.39 percent, coal producer Banpu was up 4.00 percent, Siam Commercial Bank gained 0.62 percent and Kasikornbank was up 0.68 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is modestly negative as stocks surrendered early gains and posted moderate losses on Thursday, with traders doing some profit taking ahead of key employment data on tap for Friday. The major averages all finished in negative territory, further offsetting recent gains.
Initial upside in the equity markets came after a report from the Labor Department showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits came in lower than expected in the week ended August 1, offsetting some of the recent concerns about the outlook for the labor market. The report showed that initial jobless claims fell to 550,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 588,000. Economists had been expecting jobless claims to edge down to 580,000 from the 584,000 originally reported for the previous week.
Nonetheless, buying interest waned not long after the open, and the major averages pulled back into negative territory. The downturn came as traders cashed in on recent gains ahead of Friday's monthly employment report.
On the earnings front, traders reacted to a mixed bag of quarterly results from Cisco Systems (CSCO), Sunoco (SUN), Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK), News Corp. (NWS), DirecTV Group (DTV), among others, as earnings season winds to a close. During the earnings season, a majority of companies were able to beat bottom line estimates via cost cutting measures, but most fell short of revenue estimates as the recession dampened product and service demand in the calendar second quarter.
Traders also looked to a slew of monthly sales results from retailers such as Target (TGT), Walgreen Co. (WAG), BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ), JC Penney (JCP) and Saks (SKS).
The major average experienced choppy trading heading into the close, seeing little change after moving off of their worst levels of the day in mid-afternoon trading. The Dow closed down by 24.71 points or 0.3 percent at 9,256.26, the NASDAQ slipped by 19.89 points or 1 percent to 1,973.16, and the S&P 500 fell by 5.64 points or 0.6 percent to 997.08.
In economic news, Thailand will on Friday release foreign reserves numbers for the week ending July 31. Forecasts call for an annual increase of 123.8 percent after the 122.4 percent gain on year in the previous week.
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