Investors look beyond Covid and US chaos, SET jumps

Investors look beyond Covid and US chaos, SET jumps

Recap: Japan's Nikkei hit a three-decade peak, while global stocks rallied this week. Wall Street hit record highs on Thursday as investors looked beyond rising coronavirus cases and political unrest in Washington to focus on hopes for economic recovery.

The SET index moved in a range of 1,425.48 and 1,538.61 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,536.44 points, a jump of 6% from the previous week, in massive daily turnover averaging 110.37 billion baht.

Institutional investors were net buyers of 9.77 billion baht, brokers bought 3.87 billion baht and foreign investors bought 869.76 million baht worth of shares. Retail investors was the only net sellers, at 14.51 billion baht.

Newsmakers: Donald Trump pledged an "orderly" transition of power to Joe Biden on Jan 20, but continued to insist the US presidential election was stolen from him. The statement on Thursday came hours after a violent mob incited by Mr Trump stormed the US Capitol and delayed lawmakers' vote to confirm the election results.

  • Members of Mr Trump's cabinet discussed the possibility of removing him from office after the attack on the Capitol, three US news outlets reported. Vice President Mike Pence is reported to have resisted the idea. Several senior White House staff resigned disgust over the events, as did two cabinet members.
  • Democrats seized control of the US Senate on Wednesday with dramatic election wins in Georgia, slapping Mr Trump's party with a crushing loss two weeks before Joe Biden takes office.
  • The New York Stock Exchange reversed course again on Wednesday, saying it would delist shares of three Chinese telecom firms in line with new US government guidance.
  • Britain on Monday began rolling out the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, a possible game-changer in fighting the disease worldwide, even as England went back into lockdown and medical experts warned hospitals there may soon be overwhelmed.
  • The European Union's medicines watchdog on Wednesday approved a second coronavirus vaccine, in a relief to struggling European countries as the world reached a grim new record of 15,700 deaths in 24 hours.
  • China is racing to inoculate millions with a homegrown vaccine before the Lunar New Year holiday on Feb 12.
  • People in Japan have expressed anxiety about how their lives and businesses will be affected by another month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and neighbouring areas following record numbers of new coronavirus cases.
  • Singapore's economy last year contracted by 5.8%, its worst-ever annual performance, as the pandemic hammered the city-state's vital trade and tourism sectors, official data showed last Monday.
  • The Thai government has less than three months to contain new infections to prevent unemployment from skyrocketing, economists say. The latest outbreak has prompted the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking to downgrade its economic outlook, with growth seen in a weak range between 1.5% and 3.5% this year.
  • Thailand's GDP growth this year could drop below the 3.2% baseline projection as a result of low tourist arrivals amid uncertainties over vaccine efficacy and reduced fiscal stimulus, according to minutes of the most recent meeting of the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
  • The economy could lose as much as 300 billion baht in the first quarter as the latest coronavirus outbreak sent consumer sentiment to a five-month low in December, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
  • The government's decision to intensify measures to curb the spread of Covid infections in five provinces, including Samut Sakhon, should not have a severe impact on factory operations if the actions last for a short period, says the Department of Industrial Works (DIW).
  • Factory activity across Asia -- including Thailand -- continues to gain momentum, spurred by strong demand for the region's exports, purchasing managers' indices show.
  • Thailand's food exports are expected to rise 2-3% this year despite a fresh surge of infections and reports of growing cases among workers in the food industry.
  • The use of free trade agreement (FTA) privileges and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) by Thai exporters fell by 14.76% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020, in line with the country's lower overall exports because of the pandemic.
  • The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office is preparing to propose that the government extend promotional privileges for investment in the EEC until 2022 in a bid to sustain momentum.
  • China's foreign direct investment (FDI) in Thailand is expected to increase significantly over the next few years as Chinese investors are planning to expand their local footprint, says a survey by Siam Commercial Bank (SCB).
  • The Bank of Thailand is allowing greater flexibility for non-resident companies to conduct foreign exchange transactions against the baht with domestic financial institutions under the non-resident qualified company (NRQC) scheme.
  • The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is poised to revise the criteria for the SET50 Index, the definition of free-float shares and its market surveillance measures because of unusual surges of many free-float stocks last year.
  • The spike in Covid infections in Thailand has delayed the launch of a new tourism stimulus package targeting senior travellers until March, while the Tourism and Sports Ministry will discuss a plan to set up a tourism fund by this month.
  • Thai AirAsia (TAA) says the latest outbreak is the worst crisis ever for aviation as airlines already battered by the events of 2020 face even more pressure than during the lockdown last year.
  • We Travel Together participants who cancelled or postponed hotel bookings over Covid fears will receive refunds or vouchers, officials say.
  • Thailand's rice exports are headed for another gloomy year after sinking to the lowest volume in two decades in 2020, exporters said, as a global shortage of shipping containers reduce the prospects of increasing shipments.
  • Online will become a major channel for shopping in Thailand in 2021 with e-commerce giants JD, Shopee and Lazada dominating the segment and community retailers expected to take a hit, says e-commerce pundit Pawoot Pongvitayapanu.

Coming up: China will release December inflation data on Monday, Australia will release January consumer confidence and Canada will release an updated business outlook survey.

  • The US will release short-term energy outlook on Tuesday, and December inflation on Wednesday. The European Central Bank will hold its first meeting of the year, and Germany will introduce a new government budget and update GDP data.
  • Britain will release November trade figures and manufacturing production on Friday, and the US will release December retail sales.

Stocks to watch: Capital Nomura Securities recommends stocks with price/earnings ratios below 13 times and prospects of good first-quarter results. Its picks are GFPT, SNC, HTC, XO, SPALI and AP.

Finansia Syrus Securities recommends stocks that have seen limited impact from the pandemic, including DOHOME, KBANK, MAKRO, RBF and SPALI.

Technical view: Thanachart Securities and Maybank Kim Eng both see support at 1,500 points and resistance at 1,550.

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