Thai Stock Market Has Flat Lead For Friday

( - The Thai stock market has finished lower in back-to-back trading days, falling almost 20 points or 1.2 percent along the way. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just beneath the 1,655-point plateau and it's looking at a narrow trading range on Friday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets is mixed, with bargain hunting and interest rate optimism offset by tumbling crude oil prices and trade concerns, The European markets were down and the U.S. bourses ended mixed - and the Asian markets figure to follow the latter lead.

The SET finished sharply lower on Thursday following losses from the financial shares, energy companies and cement stocks.

For the day, the index skidded 18.59 points or 1.11 percent to finish at 1,653.73 after trading between 1,649.23 and 1,658.64. Volume was 10.941 billion shares worth 38.682 billion baht. There were 1,079 decliners and 327 gainers, with 348 stocks finishing unchanged.

Among the actives, Advanced Info added 0.28 percent, while Thailand Airport dropped 1.14 percent, Banpu skidded 1.69 percent, Bangkok Bank shed 0.95 percent, Beauty Community plunged 2.75 percent, Bangkok Expressway advanced 2.19 percent, Charoen Pokphand Foods lost 0.98 percent, Kasikornbank tumbled 2.27 percent, PTT plummeted 2.43 percent, PTT Exploration and Production declined 1.07 percent, PTT Global Chemical retreated 1.54 percent, Siam Commercial Bank fell 1.76 percent, Siam Concrete slid 0.90 percent and Bangkok Medical and Krung Thai Bank were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is mixed as stocks shrugged off a sharply lower open on Thursday, rebounding to finish mixed.

The Dow shed 79.40 points or 0.32 percent to 24,947.67. while the NASDAQ added 29.83 points or 0.42 percent to 7,188.26 and the S&P 500 fell 4.11 points or 0.15 percent to 2,695.95.

The rebound was partly attributed to reports that Federal Reserve officials are considering a "wait-and-see mentality" after a likely interest rate hike later this month. Traders also went bargain hunting following the early sell-off.

In economic news, payroll processor ADP said private sector employment increased less than expected in November. Also, the Labor Department said first-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell less than expected in the week ended December 1.

The Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level in ten years in October. Also, the Institute for Supply Management noted acceleration in the pace of growth in service sector activity in November.

Crude oil prices drifted lower Thursday as OPEC postponed a decision about output reduction to later today. Crude oil futures for January ended down $1.40 or 2.7 percent at $51.49 a barrel, after declining to a low of $50.11 a barrel.

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