SET down 0.40 to 1,389.16

Thai stocks were little changed on Friday in quiet trade as investors prepared for the long Songkran break.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index slipped 0.40 points from Thursday to close at 1,389.16, a decline of 0.2% from the previous Friday's close of 1,392.01. Turnover was only 20.6 billion baht, with 3.03 billion shares traded.

The local market, which is now up 7% from the end of 2013, bucked the regional trend on Friday. Most other Asian exchanges fell more sharply in response to a big sell-off on the Nasdaq, as investors dumped technology stocks which they believe have become overvalued.

Foreign investors were net buyers on Friday of 341.67 million baht worth of Thai shares, bringing their net buying for the month to 5.62 billion baht. For the year to date they are net sellers of 15.17 billion baht.

Local institutions were net buyers of 893.06 million baht while brokers sold 365.4 million and individual investors were net sellers of 869.33 million baht.

Global stock markets were lower on Friday as investors followed Wall Street's lead and bid down technology stocks, while a drop in US jobless claims failed to lift investor confidence.

European markets opened weaker, with Britain's FTSE 100 off 1%, Germany’s DAX down 1.2% and France's CAC-40 down 1%. Wall Street also appeared set for lacklustre trading, with Dow and S&P 500 futures little changed.

The falls in Europe were foreshadowed by a weak performance in Asian markets earlier in the day. Investors knocked down internet and technology companies after the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite had its worst day since 2011.

The jitters over the high valuations of technology companies in the US and then in Asia overshadowed other upbeat economic reports. The US Department of Labor said on Thursday that the number of people seeking US unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in almost seven years.

Tokyo's Nikkei 225 lost 2.4% to close at 13,960.05 and South Korea's Kospi slipped 0.6% to 1,997.44. Hong Kong's Hang Seng finished 0.8% lower at 23,003.64 and the Shanghai Composite shed 0.2% to 2,130.54.In Australia the S&P/ASX 200 dipped 1% to 5,428.60. Stocks in Taiwan and Southeast Asia also lost ground with Indonesia being the only bright spot.

Internet and related stocks took the biggest hit from the sell-off, among them the South Korean company Naver Corp, which owns the Line messenger app. Its shares fell 3.1%.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 943.45 points, down 0.61, on turnover of 12.59 billion baht, and the SET100 lost 1.26 points to 2,072.61 in trade worth 16.59 billion. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares shed 4.33 points to 1,134.19 on turnover of 6.09 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment gained 2.10 points to 402.73, with transaction value of 855.8 million baht.

In the currency markets, the baht eased back on Friday after a week of strong gains, even as other Asian currencies advanced as global funds increased holdings of Asian assets amid easing concern about the timing of US interest-rate increases.

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 32.31/33 to the dollar, compared with 32.20/22 on Thursday but up from 32.54/56 a week earlier.

"Recent inflows of funds supported the baht amid easing political tension," said Tsutomu Soma, manager of the fixed-income business unit at Rakuten Securities in Tokyo. "As the gains through Thursday were quite fast, it's natural to see a correction before the weekend.

"Easing concern about the early rate-hike in the US helped to boost emerging-market currencies this week," he added. "Now that general sentiment is quite good, Asian currencies may continue to see some appreciation bias in the near future."

Government bonds rose for a third week. The yield on the 3.625% sovereign notes due in June 2023 dropped 10 basis points from April 4 to 3.6%.

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