SET index down 13.80 points
- Published: 1 Nov 2013 at 16.58
- Online news:
Thai stocks fell 1% on Friday as spreading protests raised investor concerns about political risk, even as good economic news from China buoyed other Asian markets.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index declined 13.80 points from Thursday to close at 1,429.08, a decrease of 1.7% from the previous Friday's close of 1,454.88. Turnover was low at 29.4 billion baht, with 5.7 billion shares traded.
The local market is up 2.7% from the end of 2012 and down 13% from the year-high of 1,643.34 reached in mid-May.
Analysts warned of further declines if protests spread against the blanket amnesty bill passed early Friday by the Pheu Thai-dominated House of Representatives.
Volatility could persist for several weeks depending on how long it takes for the Senate to consider the bill and whether there is a challenge in the Constitution Court. Most observers believe it would be late January at the earliest before the bill would become law if no impediments are raised.
Foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 1.59 billion baht worth of Thai shares. For the month of October they were net buyers of 1.16 billion baht but remain big net sellers for the year to date of 105.2 billion.
Local institutions were net sellers of 633 million baht and brokers sold 79.1 million. Individual investors were net buyers of 2.3 billion baht.
Asian and European stock markets were muted on Friday despite an upturn in China's manufacturing performance, as investors continued to fret that the US Federal Reserve will begin cutting its stimulus as soon as January.
The US central bank's cheap money policy is aimed at supporting economic recovery and has also underpinned stock markets worldwide for three years.
In early trade in Europe, Germany's DAX was down 0.2%, France's CAC-40 dropped 0.4% and Britain's FTSE 100 was little changed. Futures augured gains on Wall Street. Dow and S&P 500 futures were both up 0.2%.
Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.9% to 14,201.57, weighed down by the dollar dipping below 98 yen and an 11% plunge in Sony shares after it reported a quarterly loss of 19.3 billion yen.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng crept up 0.2% to 23,249.79 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.4% to 5,411.10. Markets in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia fell. Seoul's Kospi added 0.5% to 2,039.42.
The exception to a lacklustre Friday came in India where a modest gain was enough to push the Sensex to a record high, a comeback from a few months ago when the bourse plunged and the rupee fell to a historic low as foreign investors withdrew amid a bout of worry about withdrawal of the Fed's stimulus.
Much of that foreign money has returned now that the rupee has stabilised at a lower level, making Indian stocks a bargain.
In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 977.27 points, down 9.79 points, with total trade value of 22.93 billion baht. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares shed 5.29 points to 1,156.73, with turnover of 7 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment lost 5.13 points to 380.00, with transaction value of 683.5 million baht.
The five most active shares by value were the telecom equipment company Jasmine International (JAS), declining 45 satang to 8.00 baht; KBANK, down 4.50 baht to 185.50; TRUE, down 50 satang to 8.60 baht; SCB, down 3.50 baht to 161; and ADVANC, down 5 baht to 250.
In the currency markets, the baht posted its biggest weekly decline in a month amid concern about political risk as well as further economic weakness.
The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 31.19/21 to the dollar, compared with 31.10/12 on Thursday, and 31.06/11 a week earlier.
"The political risk in Thailand, which has been a lingering issue, is beginning to get attention again with the amnesty bill issue," said Tohru Nishihama, an economist covering emerging markets at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.
Mr Nishihama also noted that poor economic data also were weighing on sentiment. Thailand ran a current-account deficit in September of $534 million, compared with the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey for a surplus of $913 million, the central bank said on Thursday.
In the bond market, the yield on 3.625% government notes due in June 2023 increased 7 basis points to 4.01%, the highest in five weeks.