SET down 14.51 to 1,408.16

Thai stocks shed 1% on Friday in line with declines across Asia and amid concern about further slowing in local economic growth, even as foreign investors continued buying undervalued blue chips.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index declined 14.51 points from Thursday to close at 1,408.16, down marginally from the previous Friday's close of 1,409.18. Turnover was 35.04 billion baht, with 7.68 billion shares traded.

The local market is up 8.5% from the end of 2013.

Foreign investors were net buyers on Friday of 892.45 million baht worth of Thai shares, bringing their net buying for the month to 14.26 billion baht. For the year to date they are net sellers of 6.52 billion baht.

Local institutions were net sellers of 7.55 million baht and brokers sold 645.91 million. Individual investors were net sellers of 239 million baht. 

Global stocks tumbled after tensions over Ukraine mounted and Standard & Poor's cut Russia's credit rating, warning of capital flight and risks to investment due to the crisis.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 1% to 2,036.52 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng fell 1.4% to 22,238.06. Taiwan's Taiex lost 1.9% to 8,774.12. Indices in Seoul, Mumbai and Singapore also declined. Markets in Australia and New Zealand were closed for the Anzac Day holiday.

Tokyo bucked the regional trend. he Nikkei 225 added 0.2% to 14,429.26, rebounding after losing 1% a day earlier after talks between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Barack Obama failed to produce a trade agreement.

In early trade in Europe, Germany's Dax was off 0.9% and France's CAC-40 shed 0.5%. Russia's Micex lost 0.9% to 1,288.40. On Wall Street, Dow Jones futures were down 0.3% and S&P 500 futures were off 0.2%

Markets were on edge after Ukraine launched an operation to drive pro-Russian insurgents out of occupied buildings in the country's east. Moscow responded by announcing military exercises near Ukraine's border.

S&P's decision to cut Russia's rating from BBB to BBB-, its first such reduction in five years, was the most tangible economic result so far of Moscow's policy toward Ukraine.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 953.36 points, down 11.47, on turnover of 20.93 billion baht, and the SET100 lost 25.45 to 2,096.29 in trade worth 24.88 billion. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares shed 13.39 points to 1,139.71, with turnover of 8.74 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment lost 3.40 points to 417.05, with transaction value of 1.87 billion baht.

The five most active shares by value were TRUE, falling 40 satang to 6.60 baht; the green tea maker Ichitan (ICHI), up 20 satang to 17.90 baht, finishing its first week 30% above its IPO price of 13 baht; BBL, down 1.50 to 187.50 baht; JAS, down 1.50 to 8.30 baht; and KBANK, down 5 baht to 186.50 baht.

In the currency markets, the baht retreated 0.4% from a week earlier, trading at 32.31/33 to the dollar, compared with 32.35/37 on Thursday and 32.18/20 a week earlier.

In the bond market, three-year Thai government debt posted a weekly gain, pushing the yield to a four-year low, on speculation the central bank will cut interest rates to support an economy hobbled by a political deadlock that shows no signs of ending.

"With debate around a rate cut expected to stay, an economic recovery not in sight and valuations in both bonds and swap rates attractive, Thai rates are expected to remain under downward pressure," said Vivek Rajpal, a Singapore-based rates strategist at Nomura Holdings. "It’s too early to assume that the rally in bonds is over."

The yield on the 4.125% bonds due in November 2016 fell 12 basis points to 2.41%.

Top 5 most active stocks

 

Close

Change

baht

%

TRUE

6.60

-0.40

-5.71

ICHI

17.90

0.20

1.13

BBL

187.50

-1.50

-0.79

JAS

8.30

-0.05

-0.60

KBANK

186.50

-5.00

-2.61

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