Recap: Global stock markets shrugged off anxiety over Greece's debt problems before a resolution late Friday spurred Wall Street to new highs. With most markets in Asia closed for Lunar New Year, the Thai stock market fell slightly on profit-taking after failing to breach the resistance at 1,620 points.
The SET Index moved in a range of 1,587.75 and 1,619.17 points and closed at 1,603.45, down 0.8% from the previous week. Daily turnover averaged a modest 43.88 billion baht.
Foreign investors were net sellers of 5.1 billion baht, followed by institutional investors at 785.9 million and brokers at 212.6 million. Retail investors bought 6.1 billion baht more than they sold.
Big movers: PLANB, an out-of-home media firm, surged 139% above its 2-baht IPO price on its opening day on Tuesday to 4.78 baht. Top loser ABICO fell 25.5% to 18.80 baht and top gainer SAMCO rose 92% to 6.65 baht. IEC led in volume, unchanged at 0.05 baht. Tops in value excluding PLANB were TPIPL, gaining 6.8% to 3.16 baht; SCC, adding 8% to 538 baht; and PTT, falling 6.5% to 345 baht.
Newsmakers: After a week of tense negotiations, euro zone finance ministers agreed on Friday to extend heavily indebted Greece's financial rescue by four months. In return, Germany has demanded "significant improvements" in reform commitments by Athens, which must be submitted by today. If Germany and others are satisfied, talks can begin on longer-term debt relief.
Federal Reserve policymakers expressed concern that raising interest rates too soon could pour cold water on the US recovery, and fretted over the impact of dropping the word "patient" from their official statement, minutes of the Jan 27-28 meeting showed.
Japan's economy rebounded from recession to grow by an annualised 2.2% in the final quarter of last year, following two straight quarters of contraction blamed on the impact of the sales tax increase last April.
Japanese exports grew the most in more than a year in January, with stronger demand from Asia and the US supporting a recovery. The dollar value of overseas shipments jumped 17% while imports fell 9%, reducing the trade deficit to 1.2 trillion yen ($9.9 billion).
Singapore's economy grew more strongly than initially estimated in the final quarter of last year as manufacturing output was revised higher, but the outlook remained modest in the face of an uneven global recovery. Annualised growth was 4.9% in the September-October quarter, compared with 2.6% in the previous quarter.
Thailand's economy did better than expected in the fourth quarter, but the rate was not enough to achieve 1% annual growth as projected by the government's planning agency. The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) said GDP expanded 2.3% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, an improvement from 0.6% in the third quarter. But full-year growth was only 0.7%, well down from 2.9% recorded in 2013.
The Supreme Court will decide by March 19 whether to accept indictment of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra over her government's rice-pledging scheme. Ms Yingluck's lawyer said the former PM would report to the Supreme Court if it accepted the case for trial.
Bank of Thailand governor Prasarn Trairatvorakul said now was the right time for both the government and business operators to invest, thanks to low borrowing costs, while the slowdown in global economic growth and foreign exchange volatility have led to lower prices of foreign products. The central bank says it doesn't need to cut its 2% interest rate to spur recovery, saying that fiscal policy as a better tool to promote growth.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Committee (NBTC) is concerned that a planned auction of 4G spectrum licenses might be postponed to December or even later, after initial expectations that it would take place by midyear. The military government is generally unhappy with the regulator's performance and has also been trying to wrestle away some of the billions of baht in fees that it collects.
Transport Minister Prajin Juntong says the government will look to funding sources other than China to finance its rail projects, given the high interest rates demanded by China. For civil work such as railway and system construction, Beijing is asking 2%, while loans for train operating systems would cost 4%, much higher than Thailand could secure from other sources. Japanese financial agencies might be approached for a lower rate and longer grace period.
BANPU reported a fourth-quarter net profit of 66 million baht, down 50% from the third quarter due to huge losses from diesel oil hedging, weak coal business performance in Australia following a shutdown at the Mandalong mine, and falling profit from the BLCP power plant as a result of annual maintenance. It announced an interim dividend for the second half of 2014 at 0.70 baht per share.
PTTGC reported a first-time net loss of 4.9 billion baht in the fourth quarter, versus a net profit of 7.6 billion baht in the previous quarter. The reversal reflected huge inventory losses on crude oil and aromatics products totalling 13.7 billion baht. PTTGC has announced an interim dividend of 1 baht per share.
KTC reported a 2014 net profit of 1.76 billion baht, growing 69% from last year. The credit-card company generated total revenue of 14.34 billion baht, up 10% from 2013, while interest income grew 12%, driven by personal loans.
Coming up this week: Thailand's trade data for January will be released today. The alternative energy company Scan Inter Plc (SCN) will begin trading on the SET today. It sold 300 million IPO shares at 5 baht each earlier this month.
US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen will deliver her semi-annual outlook on the economy and monetary policy before US House and Senate committees tomorrow and Wednesday. Also due tomorrow are euro zone inflation for January and US consumer confidence figures.
The HSBC China Manufacturing PMI for February and US new home sales for January will be released on Wednesday. On the same day, the motorcycle hire-purchase company S11 will make its SET trading debut.
US durable goods orders and January inflation will be reported on Thursday.
Revised US fourth-quarter GDP figures are due on Friday. The market expects a small upward revision from the preliminary reading of 2.6%.
Stocks to watch: Bualuang Securities has buy recommendations for GFPT, MONO and WORK, in anticipation of strong 2014 earnings. Asia Plus Group Holdings Securities recommends high dividend yield stocks. Its top picks this week are SPALI, KTB, AIT and ASK.
Technical view: Finansia Syrus sees support at 1,588 with resistance at 1,612. ASP puts support at 1,590 and resistance at 1,608.