The Thai stock market has finished higher now in seven consecutive sessions, adding more than 50 points or 10 percent on its way to a fresh seven-month closing high. The Stock Exchange of Thailand has broken through resistance at 540 points, but analysts are expecting a modest retreat at the opening of trade on Wednesday, following the rest of the region to the downside.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is inconclusive, although some of the markets may experience a downside correction after a series of lengthy winning streaks. Technology shares may fall under pressure, as could the auto shares after weak corporate news. The European markets were mostly lower, as were the U.S. markets, and the Asian bourses are forecast to follow that lead.
The SET finished sharply higher again on Tuesday, led by the financials and the energy shares. For the day, the index added 9.36 points or 1.75 percent to close at the daily high of 544.54 after dipping as low as 5.30.63. Volume was 8.009 billion shares worth 24.235 billion baht.
Among the gainers, PTT Aromatics surged 11.11 percent, while PTT Exploration and Production was up 2.14 percent, coal producer Banpu gained 0.96 percent and Krung Thai Bank added 6.1 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is mixed as stocks showed some volatility over the course of the trading day on Tuesday, with the major averages having difficulty sustaining any significant moves before ending the session mixed. The choppy trading came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the outlook for the markets.
While stocks initially moved higher following the weakness that was seen in the previous session, buying interest waned not long after the open. The major averages subsequently pulled back off their highs for the session and into negative territory.
The pullback by the markets was partly due to concerns about the outlook for General Motors (GM), which moved sharply lower on the day to reach its lowest levels since the depression. The loss by GM came as traders worried that the company is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy after several company executives revealed that they sold their GM stock and liquidated their remaining direct holdings in the company.
Shares of rival Ford (F) also came under pressure after the automaker announced a public offering of 300 million shares of its common stock. Ford closed down 17.6 percent, pulling back further off the ten-month closing high it set last week. Selling pressure remained somewhat subdued, however, and stocks showed a notable move back to the upside in late day trading. The major averages all moved well off their worst levels of the day, with the Dow climbing firmly into positive territory.
In economic news, the Commerce Department released a report earlier in the day showing that the U.S. trade deficit for March came in wider than in the previous month, with the value of exports falling by more than the value of imports. While the report showed that the trade deficit widened to $27.6 billion in March from a revised $26.1 billion in February, economists had expected the deficit to widen to $29.0 billion.
Separately, a report from the Trustees for Medicare and Social Security showed that the funds that the programs rely on are being depleted at a faster rate than originally forecast. At the updated rate, Medicare's expenses will exceed taxpayer revenue in 2017, two years ahead of the earlier estimate, while Social Security's trust fund will be wiped out in 2037, four years ahead of the earlier estimate.
The major averages eventually ended the session mixed, with the Dow posting a moderate gain. While the Dow closed up 50.34 points or 0.6 percent at 8,469.11, the NASDAQ fell 15.32 points or 0.9 percent to 1,715.92 and the S&P 500 closed down 0.89 points or 0.1 percent at 908.35.
In corporate news, Thai coal miner Banpu saw first quarter earnings rise 132 percent, posting a net profit of 4.8 billion baht versus forecasts for 3.4 billion baht after the 2.07 billion baht profit a year earlier. With mines also in Indonesia, Banpu saw sales jump 58 percent to 13.6 billion baht - even though coal sales were down 10 percent to 4.08 million tons.
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