Rising infections stoke Thai stock sell-off

Rising infections stoke Thai stock sell-off

Commuters wearing protective facemasks amid fears of the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus wait to board a boat on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok on Tuesday. (AFP photo)
Commuters wearing protective facemasks amid fears of the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus wait to board a boat on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok on Tuesday. (AFP photo)

Thailand’s equity benchmark index tumbled to its lowest intraday threshold in more than three years, falling below the 1,400 point mark as the rising number of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country saps investment appetite.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index plummeted by 42.06 points -- 2.9% -- to end the morning trading session at 1,397.04 points.

Banking shares suffered the biggest sell-off, with KBANK, KTB, SCB and BBL shares plummeting by 6.3%, 5.9%, 4.8% and 2.5%, respectively. 

Other large-cap stocks also saw substantial losses as newly listed CRC shares declined by 4.7%, with shares of BAM, AOT and PTT sliding by 3.5%, 1.16% and 1.18% respectively.

Thailand has confirmed three more novel coronavirus cases, taking the country’s total to 40, while Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that Covid-19 has been classified as a dangerous, communicable disease.

Because of the change, anybody with symptoms of disease after visiting a high-risk country must report to the authorities within three hours.

The SET index could decline further during the afternoon trading session and investors are suggested to avoid risky assets at this moment, said Phillip Capital Thailand in its note.

The SET index has been on a rollercoaster ride this week after experiencing heavy equity sell-off on Monday and stumbling below the 1,500 points level. The bourse then saw a minor recovery of 0.3% on Tuesday before witnessing another heavy sell-off again today.

The bourse’s year-to-date return stood at -8.9% as of Feb 25, with a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.15%. Net equity sales by foreign investors totalled 35.7 billion baht year-to-date.


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