Shares steady ahead of key speech by Fed chief

Shares steady ahead of key speech by Fed chief

Recap: Global shares steadied near record highs yesterday as investors awaited a much-anticipated speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that might shed light on when and how the Fed intends to start scaling back its economic stimulus.

The SET index moved in a range of 1,565.93 and 1,615.22 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,611.2 for a gain of 3.74% -- the biggest weekly rise since mid-January -- in daily turnover averaging 96.98 billion baht.

Foreign investors were net buyers of 13.41 billion baht, local institutional investors bought 8.07 billion and brokerage firms bought 2.57 billion baht. Retail investors were net sellers of 24.04 billion baht worth of shares.

Newsmakers: The slow rollout of coronavirus vaccines will cost the global economy $2.3 trillion in lost output, says a new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit.

  • Market consensus ahead of the Fed's Jackson Hole symposium was that the US central bank could start scaling down its massive bond purchases as soon as October, paving the way for interest rates to rise in late 2022.
  • The World Trade Organization is being urged to step up its role in tackling new trade barriers and smoothing the way for essential products to cope with Covid-19 such as vaccines, medicines, medical supplies and medical equipment.
  • US sanctions have pummelled Huawei's smartphone business, opening the door for Chinese rivals to grab market share. Sales of Xiaomi handsets rose 83% in the second quarter, moving it into second place worldwide behind Samsung.
  • Asia's biggest firms are likely to post their first quarter-on-quarter profit decline in six quarters in the July-September period, with a consensus forecast for a 6.2% drop, according to a Reuters survey. The setback reflects the severe impact of new Covid lockdowns in many countries.
  • China has reopened a key terminal at the Ningbo-Zhoushan port, the world's third-busiest cargo port, after a Covid shutdown caused major backlogs elsewhere and worsened export already extended delays caused by the pandemic.
  • More than 40 IPOs on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges have been halted amid a regulatory investigation into several intermediaries in the deals, according to official exchange disclosures.
  • Vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna are on track to notch billions of dollars more in sales than previously expected, as new booster-shot strategies and concerns about the Delta variant push demand, and the companies raise prices in the US and elsewhere.
  • The Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk says it is speeding up plans for an environment-friendly fleet with the order of eight carbon-neutral container vessels, a pioneering project in the highly polluting industry.
  • Wing Aviation, the drone delivery subsidiary of the Google parent Alphabet, is close to delivering its 100,000th package to a customer. The milestone represents further progress of trials in the US, Australia and Finland.
  • Qantas is preparing to resume international flights, grounded since March 2020, in December to countries with high vaccination rates, starting with the US and Britain.
  • Thailand's fiscal position remains strong and it can raise its public debt ceiling if necessary, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Wednesday, as policymakers debate how to finance more pandemic support if needed.
  • The banking system in the second quarter remained strong with high levels of capital funding and loan-loss provisions to handle the impact of the pandemic, while bad loans were steady, the Bank of Thailand said on Monday.
  • The cabinet on Tuesday approved the extension of the 7% value-added tax (VAT) rate for another two years.
  • Thai and Chinese authorities have agreed to launch the Thailand-Guangdong cooperation project to promote high-tech industries, including electric vehicles, as well as the green economy in the Eastern Economic Corridor.
  • Thai exports are maintaining their growth momentum, rising by 20.2% year-on-year in July, albeit from a very low base in 2020, despite ongoing Covid outbreaks.
  • Propelled by soaring exports in the first seven months of 2021, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit has set his sights on raising fruit shipments this year to 180 billion baht, up more than 30% from last year.
  • Domestic car sales in July plunged by 11.6% year-on-year to the lowest in seven months as a result of drastic lockdown measures.
  • The Public Health Ministry will propose dining-in be allowed at restaurants and in dark-red and red zones for customers who are fully vaccinated or have passed Covid tests.
  • Thailand's unemployment rate in the second quarter dipped from a 12-year high in the previous three months, but Covid curbs are likely to affect more jobs, the state planning agency said on Wednesday.
  • The government is being urged to step up the introduction of more effective and intensive assistance measures to help maintain employment and create jobs for new graduates.
  • The government plans to turn 10,000 rai in three provinces that form the Eastern Economic Corridor into herb plantations growing cannabis, hemp and fa talai jone.
  • Loans from the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives in the first quarter of its accounting year expanded at a lower rate than the same period the previous year, attributed to a slowing economy, says president Tanaratt Ngamvalairatt.
  • Pattaya City seems unlikely to reopen to tourism on Sept 1 as planned with local businesses blaming the delay on red tape and a sluggish Covid vaccine rollout.
  • The SET-listed logistics company JWD InfoLogistics has partnered with Thailand Post and Flash Express to launch cold chain express delivery under the Fuze Post brand to capitalise on the 34-billion-baht market.
  • Nok Air plans to add 5 billion baht in liquidity through a five-year rehabilitation plan starting next year as it prepares to shift segments to premium service.
  • Bank of Ayudhya said on Wednesday that it would acquire SHB Finance in Vietnam from Saigon-Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank for 5.1 billion baht.
  • Krungsri Finnovate (KFIN), the corporate venture capital arm of Bank of Ayudhya (BAY), has launched a startup fund for wealthy investors interested in tech companies.

Coming up: The euro zone will release August consumer confidence and the US will release July pending home sales on Monday. The Bank of Thailand will release its monthly economic update on Tuesday, China will release August manufacturing and services PMI and the US will release a consumer confidence update.

  • The US will release August non-farm employment and manufacturing PMI and employment on Wednesday. China will release August manufacturing PMI and Australia will release second-quarter GDP.
  • The US will release second-quarter non-farm productivity and July trade figures on Thursday and August non-farm payrolls, unemployment and non-manufacturing PMI on Friday.

Stocks to watch: Country Group Securities (CGS) recommends stocks that will benefit from lockdown easing, including hospitality groups CENTEL, M and MINT, retailers such as BJC, CRC and CPALL, mall developer CPN, and the transport firms BTS and BEM. Defensive stocks recommended for the short term are communication companies such as ADVANC, and power plants such as BCPG, BGRIM, GPSC and GULF.

  • Bualuang Securities has a positive outlook for JMART after it successfully increased registered capital by 24.2% in a private placement from VGI and U, despite some EPS dilution in the short term. In the long term, JMART is expected to invest some of the 10 billion baht raised in subsidiaries JMT and SINGER to generate profit growth.

Technical view: Maybank KimEng Securities sees support at 1,585 points and resistance at 1,640. Asia Plus Securities sees support at 1,600 and resistance at 1,620.

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