SET little changed at 1,543.85

Thai stocks were little changed on Friday as most Asian markets dipped on profit-taking after recent rallies.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index declined 0.07 points from Thursday to close at 1,543.85, an increase of 0.65% from the previous Friday's close. Turnover was high at 53.14 billion baht, with 10.91 billion shares traded.

The local market is up 18.9% from the end of 2013.

Foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 998.32 million baht worth of Thai shares, but remain net buyers for the month of 18.17 billion baht. For the year to date they are net sellers of 22.86 billion baht.

Local institutions were net sellers of 667.5 million baht while brokers bought 139.58 million. Individual investors were net buywre of 1.52 billion baht. 

The SET50 index of blue chips ended at 1,033 points, down 1.16, on turnover of 23.85 billion baht, and the SET100 fell 1.31 points to 2,286.65 in trade worth 37.4 billion. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares dropped 1.41 points to 1,237.47, with turnover of 8.44 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment gained 9.81 points to 587.68, with transaction value of 4.67 billion baht.

The five most active shares by value were the contractor Ch. Karnchang (CK), rising 1.60 baht to 26 baht; BGH, up 70 satang to 17.40 baht; SAWAD, up 40 satang to 22 baht; ADVANC, down 2 baht to 205; and CKP, down 10 satang to 17.70 baht.

In the currency markets,the baht gained for a fifth week, its longest winning streak in more than a year, as overseas investors pumped $2 billion into the local bond market.

Global investors have been net buyers of Thai debt on each of the last 20 days, increasing their holdings by $5.3 billion over that time, according to figures from the Thai Bond Market Association. They also have pumped $700 million into local equities during the period.

"Large money inflows in the domestic bond market have accelerated the baht’s strengthening," said Kampon Adireksombat, an economist at Tisco Securities. "Most investors are very optimistic about the Thai economic outlook from the government’s investment policies."

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 31.85 to the dollar, compared with 31.83/86 the day before and 32.13/16 a week earlier.

However, the baht may retreat to between 32.50 and 33 by the end of this year as the pickup in domestic demand is likely to fall short of market expectations, said Mr Kampon.

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