SET bucks Asean trend with weekly gain
Recap: Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended lower yesterday, logging weekly losses, as governments in the region extended lockdowns and new reports indicated earlier hype about a Covid-19 treatment was misplaced.
The SET index moved in a range of 1,252.92 and 1,280.02 points this week before closing at 1,258.78, up 1.6% from the previous week, in turnover averaging 68.15 billion baht a day.
Institutional investors were net buyers of 8.2 billion baht, retail investors bought 7.6 billion and brokerage firms purchased 754 million baht worth of shares. Foreign investors were net sellers of 16.6 billion baht.
Newsmakers: Gilead Sciences' experimental coronavirus drug failed its first randomised clinical trial, the Financial Times reported on Thursday, but the American drugmaker maintains the results from the study in China were inconclusive as it was terminated early.
- Singapore reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for a fourth straight day yesterday, almost all of them among previously overlooked migrant workers, while China reported no deaths for a ninth straight day.
- After a dramatic week in which futures prices plunged below zero for the first time in history, oil steadied, with the West Texas International contract for June delivery rising to $17 a barrel, after the May contract fell as low as -$40.32 on Monday before expiring the next day.
- Indonesia has banned citizens travelling to their hometowns ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, which began this week, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Australia says it will begin forcing Google and Facebook to pay news companies for content, in a landmark move aimed at shielding traditional media from the tech giants' digital dominance.
- The cash-strapped airline Virgin Australia collapsed on Tuesday, making it the largest carrier to buckle under the strain of the pandemic so far.
- Facebook is investing US$5.7 billion in the Indian mobile internet company Reliance Jio, owned by the country's richest person, Mukesh Ambani.
- The Energy Ministry has approved a plan to charge mid-sized and large businesses for electricity at cost instead of mandatory minimum pricing from April to June, another relief measure to help shuttered companies with their power bills.
- The Finance Ministry has shrugged off proposals made by 20 MPs from three coalition parties to make the 5,000-baht monthly assistance payments to everyone, saying not all households are affected by the pandemic.
- The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has extended the ban on sales of alcoholic beverages until the end of the month, with the capital still the leading hotspot for coronavirus infections.
- Car production is expected to plunge 37% to 1.33 million units this year, possibly sinking as much as 50% to 1 million if the virus crisis drags into June, says the Federation of Thai Industries.
- Chinese tourists may not return anytime soon as a second wave of the outbreak is hitting many key areas, travel forecasters say, while tour agents in Europe are skipping summer vacations and starting to offer winter packages to Thailand.
- A survey by the National Economic and Social Development Council has shown the government's relief measures remain ineffective and insufficient to help people affected by the pandemic. As many as 88% of respondents said they still could not access any government relief measures.
- The government dismisses forecasters' predictions of an 8-10% drop in exports this year, saying supporting factors include the country's strength in food and agricultural industry and essential goods, China's recovery and the weaker baht. Exports unexpectedly rose 4.2% in March, inflated by shipments of gold, oil and weaponry, but were still up 2.1% without those items.
- The cabinet on Tuesday approved allocating 10% of the fiscal 2020 budgets of each ministry to a central fund to fight the pandemic and rehabilitate the economy.
- Brokers who are debenture underwriters will be asked to lend liquidity support to high-yield bond issuers with a combined value of more than 30 billion baht set to mature this year, to safeguard against rollover and default risk.
- PTT Plc plans to reduce overall petroleum refinery capacity by 15-25% next month, as domestic demand for jet fuel dries up, while many people are staying home and not driving.
- Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) expects the number of passengers using its airports to decline by 53% this year because of the sharp decline in travel.
- Most SET-listed commercial banks in the first quarter remained resilient, while building higher provisions for expected loan losses from rising bad debt as new financial reporting standards are adopted. However 10 of the 11 SET banks reported year-on-year declines in net profit, with CIMBT the sole gainer of 2%.
- Bangkok Bank (BBL) is prepared to pay for an 89.12% stake in Indonesia-based PT Bank Permata Tbk to complete the deal by June as required by the amended share purchase agreement.
- Ariya Banomyong, president of BEC World, has tendered his resignation after one year in the position, citing "personal reasons". The channel 3 operator posted a loss of 397 million baht last year, following a loss of 330 million a year earlier.
Coming up: The Bank of Japan will announce its interest rate decision on Tuesday along with its quarterly outlook. Also due are Japanese unemployment and South Korean April consumer confidence figures.
- The US will release revised Q1 GDP data and the euro zone will release April business confidence on Wednesday.
- The US Federal Reserve will deliver its interest rate decision on Thursday, while March data on personal income and spending will also be released. On the same day, Q1 GDP figures are due from the euro zone, France, Italy and Spain. China will release April manufacturing PMI data and Japan will release April consumer confidence.
- South Korea will announce April trade figures on Friday and Britain will release March consumer credit and mortgage lending.
Stocks to watch: Asia Plus Securities recommends defensive stocks with weak share prices such as BTSGIF and EA. DBS Vickers Securities Thailand recommends defensive and high-dividend stocks such as ADVANC, CHG, KKP, TISCO, AP and LH.
The Commerce sector, including CPALL, BJC, and HMPRO, will benefit from spending of 5,000-baht cash handouts, says DBS Vickers. Equities of department stores and shops expecting to reopen on May 1 are CPN, CPNREIT, COM7 and HMPRO.
Technical view: Asia Plus Securities sees support at 1,230 points and resistance at 1,300. DBS Vickers sees support at 1,200 and resistance 1,300.