SET up 4.59 points to 1,584.32

Thai stocks rose 0.3% on Friday amid continued optimism about the prospects for a domestic economic recovery.

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The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index gained 4.59 points from Thursday to close at 1,584.32, an increase of 1.4% from the previous Friday's close of 1,561.63. Turnover was 44.36 billion baht, with 9.45 billion shares traded.

The local market is up 20.1% from the end of 2013 and 13.5% since the May 22 military coup.

Foreign investors were net buyers on Friday of 1.56 billion baht worth of Thai shares, bringing their net buys for the month to 6.8 billion baht. For the year to date they are net sellers of 18 billion baht.

Local institutions were net sellers of 414.8 million baht and brokers sold 173.4 million. Individual investors were net sellers of 979.7 million baht. 

Global stock markets fluctuated on Friday as investors awaited new US employment and currencies struggled against the dollar's strength, which sent the yen to a six-year low.

France's CAC 40 edged 0.1% higher in early trade in Europe while Britain's FTSE 100 retreated 0.1% and Germany's DAX gained 0.2%. US stocks were poised to open lower, with Dow futures down 0.1% and broader S&P 500 futures off 0.2%.

The dollar is gaining strength after the European Central Bank cut its interest rates and the Bank of Japan made no change in its stimulus programme even after a GDP contraction in the second quarter. The dollar reached 105.71 yen, the highest level since October 2008 in late trading on Thursday.

Asian benchmarks were mixed, with Japan's Nikkei 225 index ending 0.1% lower at 15,668.68. South Korea's Kospi dipped 0.3% to 2,049.41 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.2% to 25,240.15. The Shanghai Composite rose 0.9% to 2,326.43 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 lost 0.6% to 5,598.70. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore fell while those in the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand gained.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 1,059.57 points, up 2.70, on turnover of 18.85 billion baht, and the SET100 rose 6.98 points to 2,348.97 in trade worth 28.76 billion. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares rose 3.17 points to 1,251.05, with turnover of 7.19 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment gained 9.23 points to 675.26, with transaction value of 14.1 billion baht.

In the currency markets, the baht had its biggest weekly drop in more than a month as demand for the dollar climbed on speculation that the United States will raise interest rates in a divergence from European policy.

The US Federal Reserve continues to reduce its stimulus and has signalled that it is ready to raise rates next year as the US economy improves. The European Central Bank on Thursday cut its rates further to head off a deflation threat, while the Bank of Japan made no change to its quantitative easing programme.

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok around 32.08 to the dollar, compared with 32.03/05 on Thursday and 31.92/94 a week earlier.

"The dollar’s outlook remains bullish given the strong growth in the US and weak economies in Europe and Japan," said Amonthep Chawla, the head of research at CIMB Thai Bank. "Still, the baht's decline will be mitigated by the country’s economic recovery that will draw more foreign fund inflows."

The Bank of Thailand will keep the baht stable and curb excessive moves, spokesman Chirathep Senivongs Na Ayudhya said.

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