RTTNews - The Thai stock market on Thursday wrote a finish to the losing streak that had reached four sessions and cost it more than 25 points or 4.3 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand regained support at 580 points, and now investors are looking to extend those gains at the opening of trade on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets calls for little change, continuing the trend that has been largely pervasive all week as investors take a wait-and-see attitude as corporate earnings season continues to unfold. A mild recovery among the commodities spurred the European markets to a higher finish, while the U.S. bourses ended right near the unchanged line - and the Asian markets are expected to move slightly to the upside.

The SET finished sharply higher on Thursday, fueled by gains among the energy stocks and the financials.

For the day, the index gained 6.12 points or 1.06 percent to close at the daily high of 581.99 after dipping as low as 573.10. Volume was 2.667 billion shares worth 15.881 billion baht. There were 193 gainers and 101 decliners, with 116 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, energy giant PTT surged 2.25 percent, while PTT Exploration and Production added 0.40 percent and coal producer Banpu eased 0.63 percent.

Wall Street offers little guidance with a virtually flat lead with a touch of upside as stocks saw choppy trading over the course of Thursday's session, finishing up by modest margins following some encouraging employment data. The major averages all closed on the upside but were once again limited by low volume characteristic of the summer season. Trading has been relatively subdued in recent weeks, with traders staying on the sidelines as economists forecast that the economy will see a recovery near the end of the calendar year.

The day's buying interest was largely generated by a report from the Labor Department showed that first-time claims for unemployment benefits decreased substantially in the week ended July 4. The report showed that jobless claims fell to 565,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 617,000. Economists had been expecting a more modest decrease to 603,000 from the 614,000 originally reported for the previous week. With the bigger than expected decrease, weekly jobless claims fell below the 600,000 level for the first time since January.

However, the report also showed that continuing claims, which measure the number of people continuing to claim unemployment benefits, rose to 6.883 million in the week ended June 27. The increase lifted continuing claims to a new record high.

Traders largely shrugged off May wholesale trade data from the Commerce Department, which showed that wholesale inventories fell by less than economists had been expecting. The report also showed a modest increase in wholesale sales.

Dow component Alcoa (AA) unofficially kicked off the start of the earnings season after the closing bell yesterday, reporting at narrower loss than Wall Street analysts had been expecting.

While the Dow bounced back and forth across the unchanged line going into the close, the blue chip index managed to end the session up by 4.76 points or 0.1 percent at 8,183.17, the NASDAQ rose by 5.38 points or 0.3 percent to 1,752.55 and the S&P 500 finished up by 3.12 points or 0.4 percent at 882.68.

In economic news, Thai consumer confidence in June rose for the first time in five months, reports said Thursday, citing data released by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. The consumer confidence indicator rose to 65.4 in June from a seven-year low of 64.3 in May.

The increase in households' sentiment reflects hopes that conditions in the economy would improve on government's stimulus measures. In the first quarter, the Thai economy contracted 1.9 percent sequentially following a 6.1 percent drop in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

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