Wall St sets records but SET barely moves
Recap: The three major US stock indices hit record highs this week on optimism over a stimulus bill while European shares were mixed yesterday, with investors still on edge over a Brexit trade deal. Emerging markets were mixed with the MSCI emerging market index off slightly as US regulators blacklisted more mainland China stocks.
The SET index moved in a range of 1,459.97 and 1,495.37 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,482.38, almost unchanged from 1,482.67 the week before, in daily turnover averaging 107.08 billion baht.
Local investors were net buyers of 17.29 billion baht and brokerages purchased 1.71 billion. Institutional investors were net sellers of 10.36 billion baht and foreign investors offloaded 8.64 billion baht in shares.
Newsmakers: Most senior Republicans finally acknowledged Joe Biden's presidential election victory, six weeks after the fact, as the Electoral College formally confirmed the result, even as Donald Trump remains steadfast in his refusal to concede.
- At least a fifth of the world's population may not have access to a Covid vaccine until 2022, according to a study published Wednesday, with wealthier nations reserving more than half of next year's doses.
- The US Food and Drug Administration was expected to quickly grant emergency approval to the Moderna Covid vaccine, after an FDA panel cleared the jab on Thursday. Moderna would be the second company allowed to begin inoculating the public, giving millions more Americans access to vaccine.
- China has kickstarted an ambitious effort to inoculate 50 million people against Covid-19 ahead of the Lunar New Year on Feb 12, using locally developed shots that are moving closer to regulatory approval. The launch will focus on key groups including hospital, police, airport and customs staff.
- A consortium led by Tencent Holdings of China plans to double its stake in Universal Music Group to 20%, in a deal that values the world's biggest music company at US$36.8 billion.
- Google's cloud-hosted email service suffered a "significant" disruption on Tuesday, just a day after it went down during a massive outage of the internet giant's platform.
- British and EU negotiators plunged into the "final hours" of talks for a post-Brexit trade deal yesterday, still deeply divided on fishing rights. The UK will leave the EU single market on Dec 31 and could face a severe economic shock. The European Parliament has demanded to see the text of any accord by tomorrow at the latest.
- The European Union on Tuesday unveiled tough draft rules targeting tech giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook, whose power Brussels sees as a threat to competition and even democracy.
- The social networking giant Facebook on Wednesday opened fire on Apple, saying the iPhone maker's new measures on data collection and targeted ads will hurt small businesses.
- Australia will ask the World Trade Organization to investigate punitive Chinese tariffs on barley imports, it said Wednesday, in a significant escalation of tensions between the two nations.
- Australia on Tuesday decried China's reported ban on its coal exports as an obvious breach of WTO rules, as tensions between the two countries flared again.
- Japan and South Korea grappled with surging coronavirus cases and growing public frustration, with Japan suspending a contentious travel subsidy programme and South Korea closing some schools and considering its toughest curbs yet.
- Singapore has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine and expects delivery of the first shots by the end of December, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.
- Indonesia will make Covid vaccines free to residents after considering the state budget, said President Joko Widodo.
- Although the Biden administration is expected to revive US support for a multilateral trade framework, underlying challenges for Thai exports still remain as carbon emissions, labour rights and trade pact conditions are critical issues affecting growth prospects, says a think tank.
- Thailand has no intention of using the exchange rate as a tool to gain an unfair trade advantage, says the Bank of Thailand, which expects little impact from the country being placed on a US watch list of countries suspected of weakening their currencies. Vietnam and Switzerland were placed in the top tier of currency "manipulators". Even as the US report was being released, the baht crossed 30 to the dollar, its strongest in seven years.
- The government's tax revenue collection in the first month of fiscal 2021 fell short of its target by 15.4 billion baht or 8.5%, attributed to the impact of the pandemic.
- Police are preparing to investigate 514 hotels and stores suspected of fraud in connection with the "We Travel Together" tourism stimulus campaign. Unusually high redemption rates alarmed authorities, who now believe fake room bookings were widespread. But officials say the scheme will resume very soon as the industry desperately needs help over the year-end holidays.
- The Finance Ministry is assessing consumer demand for the popular co-payment scheme, with the possibility of launching a third phase if necessary to stimulate consumer spending.
- Thailand is scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding for a "mini-FTA" with Telangana state in India next month.
- Total Access Communication (DTAC) says it is offering up to 3,500-baht worth of compensation to subscribers unable to sign up for the government's 50-50 co-payment scheme due to technical glitches in the mobile operator's online systems Wednesday morning.
- The Covid-19 outbreak will further affect Thai banks' profitability, bringing additional structural challenges to an already deteriorating market with intensified competition, commoditisation of services, shrinkage of some fee revenues, and the rise of non-performing loans (NPLs), according to the management consultancy Roland Berger.
- The Bank of Thailand is urging banks to speed up searches for borrowers who cannot be contacted in order to prevent a rise in non-performing loans (NPL) this year.
- The government and car companies will meet next month to discuss a proposal to impose higher excise tax on oil-powered vehicles as part of the state efforts to promote electric vehicles.
- The government agreed on Monday to suspend the planned Chana Industrial Estate in Songkhla so it could spend more time analysing the environmental impacts after intense lobbying by local residents and Islamic leaders.
Coming up: China will announce the 2021 prime lending rate on Monday. Germany will release January consumer confidence on Tuesday. Thailand will release November trade figures same day.
- The Bank of Thailand will hold its final policy meeting of 2020 on Wednesday, and the US will release November personal income and spending data. November US durable goods order figures are due on Thursday.
Stocks to watch: DBS Vickers Securities recommends investors monitor government policies to stimulate the real estate industry, which could benefit condominium developers the most. Recommended property stocks include ANAN, ORI, AP and SPALI, and fundamental plays in the group are AP, LH, ORI, LALIN, SENA and SC.
Capital Nomura Securities sees the 1-year government bond yield continuing to decline for two weeks, which is negative for banks but positive to non-finance, property and high-dividend stocks. Its picks in each group are SAWAD, MTC, AP, SPALI, LH, ICT, ADVANC and INTUCH.
Technical view: Capital Nomura sees support at 1,430 points and resistance at 1,500. DBS Vickers sees support at 1,430 and resistance at 1,510.