RTTNews - The Thai stock market has extended its winning streak to five sessions, gathering more than two dozen points or 3.3 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand maintained support above the 655-point plateau, although now investors are bracing for a correction to the downside on Thursday with investors expected to lock in gains from the current rally.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed with a touch of downside, but they are not expected to show much movement. Housing, technology and airline stocks could see solid gains, but they're likely to be countered by selling among the railroad stocks and the commodities. European markets ended firmly in negative territory, while the U.S. markets ended barely above the unchanged line - and the Asian markets are projected to trade slightly to the downside.

The SET finished modestly higher again on Wednesday thanks to muted gains among the energy stocks.

For the day, the index gained 2.82 points or 0.43 percent to close at 658.28 after trading between 654.89 and 661.04. Volume was 5.993 billion shares worth 24.007 billion baht. There were 253 gainers and 113 decliners, with 104 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, energy giant PTT was off 0.40 percent, while PTT Aromatic jumped 3.41 percent and PTT Exploration and Production eased 0.35 percent.

Wall Street offers not much in the way of guidance as stocks finished Wednesday's session little changed, with the day's trading marred by choppy movement despite largely positive news on the economic front. The major averages closed only slightly higher after turning in another lackluster trading session. Some traders remained on the sidelines ahead of the Thursday's weekly jobless claims report, which is expected to show a modest decrease in first-time claims for unemployment benefits.

Some of the day's early upside came on the heels of data on new home sales, which increased by much more than expected in the month of July, according to a report released by the Commerce Department. The report showed that new home sales surged up by 9.6 percent to an annual rate of 433,000 in July from the revised June rate of 395,000. Economists had been expecting sales to edge up to 390,000 from the 384,000 originally reported for the previous month.

Some positive sentiment was also generated by a report from the Commerce Department showing a much bigger than expected increase in durable goods orders in the month of July, with the growth largely due to a substantial rebound in orders for transportation equipment. The report showed that new orders for durable goods jumped 4.9 percent in July following a revised 1.3 percent decrease in June. Economists had expected orders to increase by 3.2 percent compared to the 2.2 percent decrease that had been reported for the previous month.

Excluding an 18.4 percent increase in orders for transportation equipment, durable goods orders increased by a much more modest 0.8 percent in July compared to a 2.5 percent increase in June. The increase came in below economist estimates of 1.0 percent growth.

In other news, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart said earlier today that although he believes the worst of the economic downturn has passed, the economic recovery will be slow and will contribute to a protracted period of high unemployment.

The major averages showed a slight upward move going into the close, ending the day just above the unchanged line. The Dow closed up by 4.23 points at 9,543.52, the NASDAQ gained 0.20 points to finish at 2024.43 and the S&P 500 rose by 0.12 to 1,028.12.

In economic news, the Bank of Thailand on Wednesday maintained its policy interest rate at 1.25 percent per annum, in line with expectations.

The monetary policy committee assesses that the current level of policy interest rate is appropriate and supportive of the economic recovery without generating any inflationary pressure, the central bank's assistant governor Paiboon Kittisrikangwan said.

The central bank left the rate untouched for the third straight rate-setting session.

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