SET fails to stay above 1,500

Thai stocks advanced 0.2% on Friday after briefly pushing above the 1,500 mark for the first time since May last year.

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The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index rose 2.62 points from Thursday to close at 1,495.83, an increase of 0.8% from the previous Friday.

The main gauge reached a high for the day of 1,504.91 in the afternoon session before moving back down as traders took profits ahead of the weekend. Turnover was 46.24 billion baht, with 12.3 billion shares traded.

The local market is up 15.2% from the end of 2013.

Foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 36.1 million baht worth of Thai shares, but were net buyers for the first week of July of 1.p03 billion baht. For the year to date they are net sellers of 40 billion baht.

Local institutions were net buyers of 108.3 million baht on Friday, brokers were net sellers of 158.8 million, and individual investors were net buyers of 86.6 million baht.

Asian stock markets were mostly higher Friday after the United States reported strong hiring for June. European markets faded after being lifted by the US jobs data the day before.

US markets are closed for the Fourth of July holiday, leading to relatively muted trading elsewhere, after the Dow pushed above 17,000 points on Thursday for the first time.

Britain's FTSE 100, France's CAC-40 and the German DAX were all down 0.1% in early trade on Friday.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.6% to finish at 15,437.13 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.1% to 23,546.36. The Kospi in South Korea was little changed at 2,009.66. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.6% to 5,525. Markets in Southeast Asia were also higher.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 1,003.64 points, up 0.65, on turnover of 25.231 billion baht, and the SET100 rose 3.14 points to 2,213.34 in trade worth 34.39 billion. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares rose 0.72 points to 1,201.17, with turnover of 14.74 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment gained 2.29 points to 521.07, with transaction value of 3.32 billion baht.

In the currency market, the baht strengthened for the second straight week on continuing optimism that the economy was starting to turn the corner.

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 32.37/39 to the dollar, compared with 32.38/42 on Thursday and 32.46.48 a week earlier.

In the debt market, five-year government bonds fell for a fourth week, pushing the yield to the highest since March, after the central bank predicted an economic pickup.

The yield on the 3.875% bonds due in June 2019 rose six basis points on the week to 3.21%.

The economy will have a “V-shaped” recovery in the second half as political tension eases, Bank of Thailand Governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said on Thursday.

Increased government spending and domestic consumption would help spur growth, he said, tempering bets that the central bank would cut interest rates to promote expansion.

“The improving economic outlook has eliminated speculation of a possible rate reduction and strengthened the view for possible tighter monetary policy in 2015,” said Komsorn Prakobphol, senior investment strategist at Tisco Financial Group.

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