Recap: Most global stock markets edged lower yesterday following Thursday's Dow tumble when 3M shares dropped sharply amid weaker-than-expected earnings. Next week's US-China trade negotiations in Beijing could further test investors' nerves amid stagnating global trade.
The SET index moved in a range of 1,663.14 and 1,683.79 points before closing at 1,667.15, down 0.4% from the previous week, in turnover averaging 42.95 billion baht a day.
Institutional investors were net buyers of 539 million baht, brokerages bought 100.85 million and foreign investors purchased 393.86 million worth of shares. Retail investors were net sellers of 1.03 billion.
Newsmakers: US President Donald Trump has decided to end exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying oil from Iran in early May. Buyers from China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey will face penalties if they cannot secure supplies from other sources. The crackdown could reduce Iran's exports by as much as 800,000 barrels a day, or about 60%.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has given the go-ahead to Huawei to help build a 5G network in the UK, shrugging off security warnings from senior ministers and Washington. However, the Chinese telecom equipment supplier will not be given access to "core" elements of the UK network.
The price of bitcoin surged on Wednesday to US$5,600, reaching this year's high, amid talk of a new bull run in cryptocurrency. However, the price slumped to $5,100 the next day after prosecutors in New York state accused the Bitfinex exchange of using illicit transactions to mask $850 million in missing funds.
Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank have abandoned merger talks, saying the deal would have been too risky. Both German banks said the deal would not have generated "sufficient benefits" to offset the costs of the deal.
The Chinese coffee chain Luckin Coffee has filed to list publicly in the United States as the loss-making company battles to dethrone Starbucks in its home market, with the IPO size estimated at US$100 million.
The baht, Asia's best performing currency in the first quarter, is hovering near 32 to the dollar and losing momentum amid local political gridlock, a stronger greenback and dividend-related fund outflows.
Thailand's exports remain in the doldrums, with the dollar value of March shipments dropping 4.9% year-on-year to US$21.4 billion. That followed a 5.9% spike in February, artificially inflated by shipments of weapons brought in earlier for Cobra Gold military exercises.
Business sentiment dipped in March after recovering in February, amid concern about the unclear political outlook. The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) confidence index edged down to 48.4 from 48.5.
More than a third of chief executives at 117 SET-listed companies expect domestic political uncertainty to take a toll on domestic demand, the capital market and economic growth prospects.
Automobile exports in March recorded the highest volume in 18 months at 117,708 units, up 6.1% from the same month last year, says the Federation of Thai Industries.
The cabinet on Wednesday extended the waiver of visa-on-arrival fees for visitors from 21 nations for another six months to spur tourism and steady the economy during the transition to a new government.
The Thailand Futures Exchange (TFEX), which has expanded by 57.1% since its 2006 inception, plans to enhance trading liquidity by offering new derivatives products and extending trading hours for gold and silver futures.
The SEC will allow securities brokers and derivatives agents to conduct trade services, namely program trading and portfolio advisory with execution, for greater efficiency, starting from May 16.
Property incentives should help boost new condominium demand in Bangkok by at least 20% this year after a market slowdown in the second quarter, says Nexus Property Marketing.
PTT Exploration and Production Plc (PTTEP) reported a consolidated net profit of 12.48 billion baht in the first quarter, down 6.7% from the same period a year earlier.
B.Grimm Power Plc (BGRIM) plans to spend 38.5 billion baht from 2019-22 to develop seven power plants with a combined capacity of 800 megawatts.
Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc (CPF), Thailand's largest agriculture conglomerate, says it plans to acquire the Canadian pork producer HyLife Investments for C$498 million to expand its North American business. Billionaire Dhanin Chearavanont has also resigned as chairman, saying other business is keeping him from performing his CPF duties.
Coming up: The euro zone will release April business confidence on Monday and the US will release March personal income and spending. Britain will release April consumer confidence on Tuesday and China will announce manufacturing PMI for April.
The US Federal Reserve will announce its policy meeting results early Thursday Thailand time. The Bank of England will also hold a rate meting on Thursday. The US will release non-farm payrolls for April on Friday.
Stocks to watch: Asia Plus Securities suggests purchasing BJC given continuous sales growth, with Q1 net profit estimated to be up 19.4% from the previous quarter. The firm also recommends AMATA, with a project backlog worth 3.6 billion baht and Q1 profit forecast to rise 72% year-on-year.
Bualuang Securities recommends ROBINS, which is poised to benefit from back-to-school sales season. Large- and medium-cap stocks are expected to attract inflows after PTTEP and DTAC announced better-than-expected earnings last week.
Technical view: DBS Vickers Securities Thailand sees support at 1,620 points and resistance at 1,690. Asia Wealth Securities sees support at 1,605 and resistance at 1,695.