The Thai stock market on Monday saw an end to the modest two-day winning streak that saw it add 4 points or 0.9 percent in the process. The Stock Exchange of Thailand slid below support at 430 points, and now investors are expecting further declines on Tuesday as the market follows the rest of the region to the downside.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is broadly negative, with continued pressure likely among the automobile stocks and the financial issues. The European and U.S. markets finished sharply lower on Monday and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow that lead - although the losses may not be quite as heavy, since the Asian markets already suffered sizeable losses in Monday's trade.

The SET finished sharply lower on Monday, dragged into negative territory by weakness among the energy stocks and the financials. For the day, the index retreated 11.21 points or 2.54 percent to close at 429.60 after trading between 426.44 and 436.07. Volume was 1.966 billion shares worth 8.522 billion baht.

Among the decliners, energy giant PTT lost 5 percent, while subsidiary PTT Exploration and Production shed 4 percent, coal producer Banpu was off 4.46 percent, Siam Commercial Bank was down 4.5 percent, Kasikornbank fell 2.69 percent and Bangkok Bank lost 3.3 percent.

Wall Street offers another sharply pessimistic lead as stocks saw continued weakness throughout the trading day on Monday after moving sharply lower in early trading. While the major averages did not see much follow-through on their early downward move, they remained stuck firmly in negative territory. The weakness in the markets came as investors responded to disappointing news regarding the auto industry as well as renewed concerns about the outlook for the financial sector. Some traders also looked to cash in on the gains seen in the three previous weeks.

Much of the selling pressure came as President Obama and his auto task force indicated that General Motors (GM) and Chrysler have not gone far enough in their restructuring plans and need to step up their efforts to reorganize in order to receive additional government aid. While the administration will continue to provide operating funds for the next few weeks, it has given both GM and Chrysler a final deadline, threatening bankruptcy if the beleaguered auto giants do not significantly increase their efforts to restructure their business.

Additionally, at the request of the White House, Rick Wagoner has stepped down as chairman and CEO of General Motors, with Fritz Henderson, GM president and chief operating officer, set to replace Wagoner as CEO.

Financial stocks also experienced considerable weakness after Treasury Secretary Geithner suggested that more banks might need bailout funds. Appearing on the Sunday talk shows, Geithner explained that the ongoing stress tests for the financial industry have shown many other banks need funds from the TARP, although he said there is only about $135 billion left in the bailout pool.

Meanwhile, optimism surrounding this week's G20 summit has waned, as investors fear that earlier hopes that the countries will agree to a coordinated fiscal boost appear to have been crushed by skepticism in many European governments.

The major averages regained some ground going into the close of trading, but they remained firmly negative. The Dow closed down 254.16 points or 3.3 percent at 7,522.02, the Nasdaq closed down 43.40 points or 2.8 percent at 1,501.80 and the S&P 500 closed down 28.41 points or 3.5 percent at 787.53.

In economic news, Thailand will on Tuesday release February numbers for imports, exports and trade balance, as well as current account and manufacturing production. Imports are expected to fall 36.5 percent on year, while exports are called lower by 11.3 percent and the trade balance is expected to show a surplus of $3.689 billion. The current account is forecast to show a surplus of $3.9 billion. Manufacturing production is expected to fall 21.3 percent on year.

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