Investors eye Argentina talks, May's Brexit sales job

Investors eye Argentina talks, May's Brexit sales job

Recap: Emerging-market shares fell yesterday, backtracking from the upward trend of the past month as investors took a cautious stance ahead of high-stakes US-China trade talks over the weekend, along with British Prime Minister Theresa May's attempt to win parliamentary support for her Brexit deal forged with the EU.

The SET index moved in a range of 1616.67 to 1647.89 points before closing at 1,641.80, up 1.2% from the previous week, in moderate turnover worth an average 37.25 billion baht a day for five operating days.

Retail investors were net sellers of 5.4 billion baht, with foreign investors selling a net 1.75 billion and brokerage firms offloading a net 2.5 billion worth of shares. On the other hand, institutional investors were net buyers of 11.74 billion baht.

Newsmakers: US President Donald Trump said he was likely to go ahead with a hike on tariffs currently imposed on Chinese goods. The comments to The Wall Street Journal came as he was expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of this week's G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

British MPs will hold a crucial vote on Dec 11 to approve or reject the Brexit deal agreed with EU leaders, while finance minister Philip Hammond said Britain will be economically worse off for leaving the EU.

A day after Mr Trump's latest broadside against the US central bank, Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell hinted Wednesday that the key lending rate would move higher but said there was no preset course.

Italy looks set to defuse a row with the EU after weeks of publicly defying officials in Brussels over the government's high-spending budget plans. Italian leaders wanted to "end poverty", raising the deficit to 2.4% of GDP.

Carlos Ghosn was sacked as chairman of Mitsubishi Motors after his arrest in Japan over misconduct claims. The firing followed a similar move by Nissan last week amid claims that Mr Ghosn falsely understated his salary and used company money for personal gain.

In a massive restructuring, US auto giant General Motors announced Monday that it would cut 15% of its workforce to save $6 billion and adapt to "changing market conditions". Mr Trump said he was "very disappointed" and "looking at cutting all GM subsidies, including ... for electric cars".

German chemical and pharmaceutical giant Bayer said it would slash 12,000 jobs in a major restructuring after the mammoth takeover of Monsanto, enabling it to save €2.6 billion a year from 2022.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand reported the nine-month performance of listed companies with a total net profit of 759 billion baht, up 13.3% year-on-year, driven mainly by the energy, petrochemical, banking and services sectors.

Capital market intermediary companies should assess whether fees charged on securities trading and investment in funds are fair relative to the quality of services, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said.

The Bank of Thailand is set to begin raising the policy interest rate once economic growth and inflation move within their targets because financial vulnerabilities have started to become more widespread, in part because of a prolonged low interest rate.

Factors making up Thailand's sovereign credit rating all show high economic stability, except for susceptibility to political risk events like the outcome of the upcoming election, according to a credit opinion report issued by Moody's Investors Service.

Thailand's economic growth and exports in 2019 are anticipated to be below this year's rates, mainly because of heightening external risks, TMB Analytics said.

The Sino-US trade war may not produce a strictly negative impact on Thailand, as the country could benefit from trade diversion and a shift in foreign direct investment, a veteran economist said.

Business confidence fell in October as executives and owners fretted about the impact of a trade war on the Thai economy, a drop in Chinese tourist arrivals and low oil palm and rubber prices.

Thailand's unemployment rate continued to improve in the third quarter, thanks to a growing economy and a recovering farm sector.

Tourist arrivals to Thailand were reportedly up 20% in the latter half of November in response to the government's visa-on-arrival fee waivers, with India the star market.

Thailand's advertising and media spending will likely grow at a 4-5% pace next year, fuelled by digital ad spending rising an expected 20%, ad agency Group M said.

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand called on the Energy Ministry to provide a demand projection for liquefied natural gas shipped to the Map Ta Phut port to increase the confidence of business operators considering joining the bid for the seaport's third phase.

Pushing scandal aside, Nissan Motor launched the new all-electric Leaf at Thailand International Motor Expo 2018 and held fast to its commitment that the EV will debut in all seven expected markets by year-end.

SISB Co Ltd, the operator of Singapore International School of Bangkok, shrugged off criticism about its listing on the stock exchange, arguing that it complies with SET and SEC rules.

SET-listed developer Origin Property Plc will freeze launches of new condo projects for the middle class for at least two years, owing to new requirements on mortgage lending taking effect on April 1.

SET-listed energy firm Bangchak Corporation Plc will delay an IPO plan for BBGI Plc on the stock market until the second half of 2019, saying the bourse is too volatile for new listings.

SET-listed Gulf Energy Development Plc, one of Thailand's largest power producers, expects revenue to leap 60% to 32 billion baht in 2019 as the commercial operation dates of five power plants arrive.

SuperRich Currency Exchange (1965) Co, a leading local money changer, jumped on the digital cash passport bandwagon with the launch of a prepaid travel money card to capitalise on the 38 million tourists spending 2 trillion baht annually.

Coming up: China will release the Caixin purchasing managers index (PMI) for November's manufacturing on Monday, with the US releasing ISM manufacturing PMI and ISM employment for November the same day.

Australia will release the RBA cash rate target on Tuesday, and Bank of England governor Mark Carney will speak at the British parliament.

On Wednesday, Australia will release Q3 GDP data and the European Central Bank will reconvene for a non-monetary policy meeting. The US will also release the ISM non-manufacturing and services composite for November.

Australia, Canada and the US will release October trade balance on Thursday.

On Friday, Britain will release the inflation target for the next 12 months, while the euro zone will release Q3 GDP data. Across the Atlantic, Canada will release the November unemployment rate and the US will announce non-farm payrolls, November unemployment and December consumer sentiment.

China will release November trade balance and export and import figures on Saturday.

Stocks to watch: Krungsri Securities advises selective buying as an investment strategy, with a focus on the retail sector ahead of an expected boon from year-end consumer spending. The firm also suggests investment in tourism-related stocks and banks likely to reap benefits from an imminent policy rate hike by the Bank of Thailand. Top picks for December are BDMS, CENTEL, KTB, ROBINS and SAWAD.

Asia Plus Securities recommends domestic plays, with BJC expected to benefit from the government campaign to stimulate consumer spending. Other stocks poised to benefit from increased investment from both the government and the real sector are DCC, SCC and TASCO.

Technical view: Krungsri Securities sees support at 1,600 points and resistance at 1,680. Asia Plus Securities sees support at 1,600 points and resistance at 1,650.

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