Blessings in disguise?
Thailand's stock market was the world's fifth-best performer in 2012. It rose 35.75% and its price-to-earnings ratio shot up to 18 times.
Supported by internal and external factors, the government stimulated consumption with the first-time car buyer scheme, the 300-baht daily minimum wage in seven major cities and a cut in corporate income tax.
Aided by foreign direct investment, the economy performed more strongly than expected.
The economic crises in the US and euro zone became an opportunity for other continents, especially Asia.
Foreign investors targeted Asia for good yields that they could not find anywhere else.
These factors helped support a rally in large market capitalisation, with newly listed stocks setting records with huge returns.
All securities research houses forecast the market will remain bullish over the next few years. Some say it will rise to 1,500-1,600 points, while others are even more optimistic, giving investors high hopes of good times ahead.
The Stock Exchange of Thailand was hoping the positive momentum would lure big investors to jump on the bandwagon. But is it too good to be true?
For the record, 2012 was a good year for the bourse, but it was still below the growth levels of 2009 (63.2%) and 2010 (40.6%), indicating that experienced investors have been cautious.
The SET has been aggressive in attempting to expand the market. It introduced a new rule that allowed companies to list on the market with no profit records, even though such cases were rare. Not all new stocks were hot-traded. For instance, Ananda Development has not yet climbed up to its initial offering price.
The US economy still faces problems, while the euro zone will definitely struggle this year. These factors are concerns for Thai exporters and can have a great impact on the overall economy.
When trading stocks, a good dream can easily become a nightmare overnight.