The Thai stock market has climbed higher in three straight sessions, gathering more than 30 points or 2 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now sits just beneath the 1,650-point plateau although it may be stuck in neutral on Friday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed and flat ahead of key U.S. employment data later in the day. The European and U.S. bourses were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.
The SET finished modestly higher on Thursday following mixed performances from the financial shares and energy producers.
For the day, the index improved 13.08 points or 0.80 percent to finish at 1,648.44 after trading between 1,639.02 and 1,651.76. Volume was 18.838 billion shares worth 75.294 billion baht. There were 931 gainers and 695 decliners, with 516 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Advanced Info added 0.53 percent, while Thailand Airport retreated 1.33 percent, Asset World sank 0.79 percent, Banpu gained 0.76 percent, Bangkok Bank collected 0.69 percent, Bangkok Dusit Medical plunged 3.31 percent, Bangkok Expressway skidded 1.07 percent, BTS Group shed 0.60 percent, CP All Public climbed 1.15 percent, Charoen Pokphand Foods rose 0.42 percent, Energy Absolute increased 0.52 percent, Gulf gained 0.47 percent, IRPC lost 0.65 percent, Kasikornbank fell 0.35 percent, Krung Thai Bank improved 0.57 percent, Krung Thai Card strengthened 1.28 percent, PTT Exploration and Production dropped 1.06 percent, SCG Packaging jumped 1.81 percent, Siam Commercial Bank was up 0.48 percent, Siam Concrete advanced 0.89 percent, Thai Oil spiked 1.80 percent, True Corporation rallied 2.20 percent, TTB Bank slumped 0.71 percent and B. Grimm, PTT Oil & Retail, PTT and PTT Global Chemical were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street is murky as the major averages were unable to hold early gains on Thursday, with only the NASDAQ able to break back into the green.
The Dow stumbled 194.76 points or 0.56 percent to finish at 34,395.01, while the NASDAQ added 14.45 points or 0.13 percent to close at 11,482.45 and the S&P 500 eased 3.54 points or 0.09 percent to end at 4,076.57.
The lack of direction shown by the broader markets came as traders looked ahead to the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly jobs report later today.
The data could affect the outlook for interest rates, although the impact may be somewhat muted following Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks on Wednesday hinting at a slowdown in the pace of rate hikes as soon as next month.
In economic news, the Institute for Supply Management said manufacturing activity contracted for the first time in over two years in November. Also, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits pulled back by more than expected last week.
Crude oil futures settled higher Thursday on easing concerns about the outlook for energy demand, while a weaker dollar amid rising prospects of smaller rate hikes by the Fed also contributed to the increase in oil prices. West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for January gained $0.67 or 0.8 percent at $81.22 a barrel.