SET down 2.19 to 1,500.20

Thai stocks edged down 0.1% on Friday to complete a rough week in which world markets were spooked by another Argentine debt default.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index fell 2.19 points from Thursday to close at 1,500.20, a decrease of 2.8% from the previous Friday's close of 1,543.85. Turnover was 44.17 billion baht, with 8.82 billion shares traded.

The weekly decline was the first since the week of June 9-13 for the local market, which is up 15.6% from the end of 2013.

Foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 467.78 million baht worth of Thai shares, bringing their net sales for the year to date to 27.7 billion baht

Local institutions were net sellers of 1.12 billion baht and brokers sold 744.4 million. Individual investors were net buyers of 2.33 billion baht. 

World stock markets sank on Friday, with European benchmarks opening sharply lower after Wall Street's sharp sell-off. Asian stock markets posted only modest losses as strong reports on China's economy countered some of the pessimism.

Germany's DAX sank 1.8% in early trade while France's CAC 40 fell 1.3% and London's FTSE 100 dropped 1.1%. Wall Street was poised to open lower, with Dow futures down 0.3% to 16,440.00 and S&P 500 futures off 0.4% to 1,917.40.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.6% to close at 15,523.11 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 0.9% to 24,532.43. South Korea's Kospi edged 0.2% lower at 2,073.10. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 1.4% to 5,556.40. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index stayed in positive territory until the final hour and ended the day down 0.7% at 2,185.30.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 1,005.23 points, down 1.74, on turnover of 25.44 billion baht, and the SET100 fell 4.40 points to 2,221.02 in trade worth 34.83 billion. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares lost 1.43 points to 1,187.41, with turnover of 10.45 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment jumped 27.61 points to 576.72, with transaction value of 4.89 million baht.

In the currency markets, the baht recorded its biggest weekly drop of the year as data showing a pickup in the US economy fuelled speculation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in 2015.

The baht had strengthened by 2.3% in the previous two months to 32.107 as of Thursday, the biggest advance among 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg, as overseas investors pumped $7.7 billion into Thai bonds and equities.

"The strong US economy and upward interest-rate trend reinforce our forecast that the baht may drop to the 33 level by the end of this year," said Komsorn Prakobphol, an investment strategist at Tisco Financial Group in Bangkok.

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 32.25/27 to the dollar, compared with 32.09/11 the day before and 31.83/86 a week earlier.

Technical indicators pointing to a correction are also contributing to the baht’s retreat, said Mr Komsorn. The baht's 14-day relative strength index was below the 30 level for the seven trading days through July 29, suggesting to some traders that the currency was poised to weaken.

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