SURPRISE FROM TOKYO GIVES ASIAN SHARES A BOOST
Recap: Asian stock markets gained last week, buoyed by the Bank of Japan's surprise move on Friday to expand its stimulus programme. The SET Index moved in a range of 1,547.89 and 1,584.35 points and closed at 1584.16, up 2.9% from the preceding week, in trade worth an average of 47.44 billion baht a day.
Retail investors were the biggest sellers with a net position of 7.82 billion baht, followed by foreign investors at 2.64 billion baht. Brokers were net buyers of 2.38 billion baht and institutional investors bought 8.08 billion more than they sold.
Big movers: Two stocks made their trading debut on the Market for Alternative Investment. Thai Solar Energy (TSE) surged 87.2% above its 1.70-baht IPO price to close at 7.30 baht on Thursday, while Siam Wellness Group (SPA) tripled to 5.10 baht on its opening day on Friday.
Wattana Capital (WAT) was the top gainer, up 200% to 0.80 baht. Top loser Permsin Steel Works (PERM) slid 12% to 3.08 baht. IEC led in volume, unchanged at 0.06 baht.The top three by turnover were ADVANC, up 4.8% to 833 baht; TRUE, adding 9.3% to 11.80 baht; and EVER, surging 40.3% to 4.32 baht.
Wattana Capital (WAT) was the top gainer, up 200% to 0.80 baht. Top loser Permsin Steel Works (PERM) slid 12% to 3.08 baht. IEC led in volume, unchanged at 0.06 baht.
Newsmakers: The US Federal Reserve ended its monthly bond purchase programme and said it was seeing further improvement in the labor market. Policymakers said interest rates would remain low for a "considerable time", which can be interpreted in any number of ways by any number of highly paid analysts.
The Bank of Japan unexpectedly expanded its stimulus spending in an admission that economic growth and inflation have not picked up as much as expected after the sales tax increase in April. The bank will accelerate purchases of Japanese government bonds so that its holdings increase at an annual pace of 80 trillion yen ($723.4 billion), up by 30 trillion yen.
The BoJ said it now expected real GDP to increase just 0.5% in the fiscal year to March 2015, versus 1% forecast in July. It also expects core consumer inflation of 1.2%, followed by 1.7% in the next fiscal year and 2.1% in 2016-17. Japanese industrial output in September rose 2.7%, the fastest pace in eight months, compared with a 1.9% drop in August. Retail sales rose 2.3% following a 1.2% rise in August.
US gross domestic product grew at a 3.5% annual rate in the third quarter, driven by a smaller trade deficit and a surge in defense spending. Growth in business investment, housing and consumer spending slowed from the second quarter.
China can afford to cut its 2015 economic growth target to 7% and still keep its labour market healthy, the World Bank said.
The Fiscal Policy Office on Friday trimmed its economic growth forecast for Thailand to 1.4%, assuming that second-half growth comes in at 2.9%. However, it predicted a rebound to 4.1% next year, underpinned by infrastructure spending and improvements in exports and tourism.
Exports unexpectedly rebounded in September after contractions in the previous two months, but authorities warn the global economy will continue to put pressure on prospects during the rest of this year. The Commerce Ministry said the US dollar value of shipments rose 3.2% year-on-year to US$19.9 billion, boosted largely by farm products such as rice (up 49.2%). However, for the first nine months exports contracted by 0.85% to $170 billion and imports shrank 10% to $172 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $1.51 billion.
Measures to curb rampant stock manipulation will be discussed when the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) board meets this month. The SET expects the measures to come into force this year, president Kesara Manchusree said.
Thai Beverage, in a fresh move to become a leading beverage company in Asean, will acquire the Est soft-drink trademark from its 64.66%-owned subsidiary Sermsuk (SSC) for 1.56 billion baht.
The cabinet is expected to approve more tax and non-tax stimulus measures sometime in the next three weeks to help the economy.
Siam Cement Group (SCG) expects a windfall next year from rising demand for cement and building materials stimulated by the infrastructure development. It forecast cement demand will grow 5% next year. SCG has earmarked 40-50 billion baht for investment next year, mostly for cement operations and mergers and acquisitions, while 200-250 billion will be included in a new five-year investment budget starting next year.
PTTEP reported a 16% year-on-year drop in profit in the third quarter, driven by asset depreciation and write-offs. Unreviewed consolidated net profit was US$477 million or 15.28 billion baht.
Ch. Karnchang Plc (CK), Thailand's second-largest construction contractor, expects to meet its revenue target of 30 billion baht this year despite delays in government-financed megaprojects. It said its current backlog of more than 100 billion baht would help it meet the target.
Carabao Group Plc, the maker of Carabao Dang energy drinks, plans to float 250 million shares to the public in coming months.
Coming up this week: Bangkok Airways (BA) begins trading today. The airline raised 13 billion baht from the sale of 520 million new shares at 25 baht each in the biggest IPO so far this year.
Thai inflation figures for October are due today, as are manufacturing PMI updates for the United States, the euro zone and China.
The Bank of Thailand's Monetary Policy Committee will meet on Wednesday, with most analysts expecting no change in the benchmark interest rate. The Markit Eurozone Composite PMI for October will be released on the same day.
Stocks to watch: Thanachart Securities expects big-cap stocks will benefit from the return of offshore fund inflows triggered by a new round of monetary easing in Japan. PTT, BBL and TRUE are its top picks.
KGI Securities recommends buying energy and telecom stocks, while PTTEP and SCC are Asia Plus Securities' top picks this week.
Technical view: Thanachart Securities sees resistance at 1,615 points with support at 1,570. KGI Securities pegs resistance at 1,602 and support at 1,550.