SET index rises 6.29 points

Thai stocks edged up 0.5% on Friday amid lacklustre trade across Asia.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index rose 6.29 points from Thursday to close at 1,314.63, an increase of 1% from the previous Friday's close of 1,301.48. Turnover was 33.99 billion baht, with 4.62 billion shares traded. The market to date is up 1.2% from the end of 2013.

Foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 160.3 million baht worth of Thai shares, bringing their net sales for the month to 734.3 million baht.

Local institutions were net buyers of 1.32 billion baht and brokers bought 534.3 million. Individual investors were net sellers of 1.7 billion baht.

Asian stock markets were mostly lower on Friday on lingering concerns over the slowing Chinese economy.

European shares also headed for a lacklustre end to the week. In early trading, Germany's DAX was down 0.2%, Britain's FTSE 100 was off 0.2% and France's CAC 40 was 0.3% lower.

US stocks were poised to fall, with Dow futures down 0.3% and broader S&P 500 futures off 0.2%.

Japan's Nikkei 225 slipped 1.9% to close at 15,391.56 on selling of export-related shares as the yen sank to 103 to the dollar after hovering around 104.50 in recent days.

Investors were also cautious ahead of Monday's release of trade data for December that is expected to show a further widening of Japan's deficit thanks to rising import costs.

But China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.6% to 2,054.39, shrugging off HSBC data that indicated a contraction in Chinese manufacturing for the first time since July.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 1.3% to 22,450.06 and Seoul's Kospi dropped 0.4% to 1,940.56. Shares in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia sagged.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 898.88 points, down 4.77 points, with total trade value of 27.4 billion baht. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares rose 7.00 points to 1,101.13, with turnover of 8.52 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment gained 4.04 points to 357.46, with transaction value of 1.24 billion baht.

The five most active shares by value were Airports of Thailand (AOT), rising 8 baht to 175.50; TRUE, unchanged at 7.55 baht; ADVANC, unchanged at 215 baht; PTTGC, up 50 satang to 74 baht; and JAS, up 5 satang to 7.15 baht.

In the currency markets, the baht posted another weekly loss after the caretaker government imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok, worsening the outlook for tourism and the economy.

The Tourism Council of Thailand estimates anti- government protests that started on Oct 31 may cost the local travel industry 22.5 billion baht in the first quarter of 2014.

The Bank of Thailand this week cut its 2014 economic growth forecast to about 3% from 4%, after unexpectedly holding its benchmark interest rate at 2.25%.

"The declaration of a state of emergency hurts tourism and the economic outlook, and that weighed on the baht," said Disawat Tiaowvanich, a foreign-exchange trader at Bangkok Bank.

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 32.86/91 to the dollar, compared with 32.85/90 on Thursday and 32.78/80 a week earlier.

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