RTTNews - The Thai stock market on Thursday saw an end to the four-day winning streak in which it added more than 35 points or 6.5 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand slid beneath support at 550 points, and now analysts are predicting another day of selling pressure when the market opens for business on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is pessimistic, with the financial shares expected to come under pressure after it was announced that Britain's AAA credit rating might be in jeopardy. Downbeat economic data reinforces the negative sentiment. The European markets finished sharply lower, as did the U.S. markets - and the Asian bourses are also predicted to take a hit.

The SET finished sharply lower on Thursday, thanks to major profit taking among the energy stocks and the financials following the recent rally. For the day, the index retreated 12.64 points or 2.25 percent to close at 548.77 after trading between 545.78 and 563.03. Volume was 5.136 billion shares worth 24.334 billion baht.

Among the decliners, energy giant PTT dropped 2.73 percent, while PTT Aromatics fell 4.17 percent, PTT Exploration and Production shed 4.26 percent, coal producer Banpu lost 2.54 percent, Kasikornbank fell 2.52 percent and Siam Commercial Bank eased 0.71 percent.

Wall Street offers a negative lead as stocks finished Thursday's session significantly lower after mild losses in the previous session. The major averages all closed in firmly negative territory as trader optimism dampened following the release of largely disappointing economic data.

The retreat came on the heels of another uninspiring jobs report from the U.S Labor Department for the week ended May 16. The data showed that first time jobless claims slowed but continuing claims rose for yet another week, reaching a new historic high. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's business activity index for the first half of May showed improvement but rose by less than expected, further mitigating risk appetite.

Some of the pessimism was moderated by forward looking indicators for April from the Conference Board, which came in slightly better than expected, raising some economic prospects for the coming months.

The broad-based losses on the day came as traders did some profit taking following the recent run-up seen in equities. In addition, with no considerable news on tap for Friday's session and markets closed on Monday for Memorial Day, equity markets worldwide saw considerable pullbacks.

The major averages opened notably lower following the jobs report and lingered in negative territory throughout the day, before finishing just off of their daily lows. Subsequently, the Dow closed down by 129.91 points or 1.54 percent to finish at 8292.13, the NASDAQ finished down by 32.59 points or 1.89 percent to end at 1695.25, and the S&P 500 also fell, closing down by 15.14 points or 1.68 percent to finish at 888.33.

In economic news, Thailand will on Friday provide foreign reserves data for the week ending May 15. Forecasts call for an increase of 120 percent on year following the 118.5 percent annual increase in the previous week.

Also, Thailand's exports dropped 26.1 percent year-on-year in April to US$10.4 billion, after a 23.1 percent fall in March, the country's Commerce Ministry said on Thursday - in line with economists' expectations. Imports plunged 36.3 percent to US$9.8 billion in April. Economists expected imports to decline 41.5 percent. The trade surplus came in at US$595 million, lower than the US$1.2 billion surplus expected by economists.

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