Equities steady ahead of key US jobs report
Recap: Global stocks were mixed on Friday as investors awaited a key US employment report that could influence the Federal Reserve's timeline for scaling back its stimulus. European markets pulled back slightly but still held gains as investors welcomed the lifting of the US debt ceiling.
The SET index moved in a range of 1,610.96 and 1,644.16 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,639.41, up 2.13% from the previous week, in daily turnover averaging 91.84 billion baht.
Brokerage firms were net buyers of 2.69 billion baht, foreign investors bought 1.92 billion baht and institutional investors purchased 1.17 billion baht worth of shares. Retail investors were net sellers of 5.78 billion baht in shares.
Newsmakers: The US Senate on Thursday approved a short-term debt-ceiling increase, breaking a weeks-long game of political chicken that had unnerved financial markets. The country was set to reach its borrowing limit on Oct 13, and now it has a breather until Dec 3.
- President Joe Biden delivered a stark warning of American decline on Tuesday in a speech urging Congress to vote through his ambitious infrastructure and social spending packages or lose out to the likes of China.
- A six-hour Facebook outage on Monday served as a wake-up call for small businesses worldwide that rely heavily on the social media giant.
- Whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, on Tuesday urged US lawmakers to regulate the social media giant, after she leaked reams of internal research that detailed how Facebook knew its sites were potentially harmful to young people's mental health.
- Google has hit the brakes on a project to add mobile banking to its Pay app, even as the online financial services market for everyday investors heats up.
- China continues to struggle with widespread power shortfalls, dealing a blow to its economic recovery and risking disruption to global supply chains and heightened inflationary pressure around the world.
- Another Chinese homebuilder has hit financial trouble after it missed payments on debt obligations, adding to worries over the country's property sector as embattled giant China Evergrande teeters on the brink of collapse.
- Major Chinese developers saw their sales plunge last month, putting more pressure on the government to limit the Evergrande fallout. Combined sales by the country's top 100 real estate companies plummeted 36% year-on-year to 760 billion yuan ($118 billion) in September.
- The price of shares in makers of vaccines and other coronavirus treatments dropped in Asia on Monday after Merck & Co said its experimental pill cuts the risk of hospitalisation and death from Covid-19 in half.
- Oil prices headed for a seventh weekly gain, the longest run since last December, as a global energy crunch rattled markets from Europe to Asia. In the US, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said releasing strategic stockpiles was being considered to counter surging gasoline prices.
- Volvo Cars, the Swedish auto maker owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, is preparing to launch an initial public offering in Stockholm, in a deal that people familiar with the matter say could value it at upward of $25 billion.
- Britain will scrap tough Covid-19 quarantine requirements for 47 destinations including South Africa and Thailand on Monday.
- Singapore plans to widen its quarantine-free travel programme to include fully vaccinated individuals from South Korea and the United States as the financial hub moves cautiously to reopen its borders.
- Vietnam is planning to reopen key tourist destinations in December to vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries, ahead of a full resumption targeted for June next year.
- The Commerce Ministry has revised its annual headline inflation forecast to a range of 0.8% to 1.2% (with an average of 1%), narrowing from 0.7% to 1.7% (with an average of 1.2%) earlier.
- The government has welcomed the decision by S&P Global Ratings to maintain Thailand's sovereign credit rating at BBB+ with a stable outlook.
- The Industry Ministry is preparing to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) upgrade their factory technology to robotic and automation systems under a 2.5-billion-baht soft loan programme.
- The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) is preparing to help its startup and SME members raise funds in the capital market to help support business development.
- The government has revised investment plans in Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), as it aims to drive economic growth of 4.5% to 5% a year between 2022 and 2026.
- The government aims to generate at least 882 billion baht in domestic tourism revenue next year from measures to revive the struggling sector after a major slump in foreign arrivals.
- The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes to increase inbound visitors from Asian markets during the high season via proposed travel bubble schemes with South Korea and India.
- The government is gearing up to promote Phuket as a world-class destination, hoping to lure one million foreign visitors over the next six months and generate at least 60 billion baht in revenue.
- Tourism operators have complained about a planned levy of 500 baht per head -- 300 baht to be paid by foreign tourists and 200 baht by the state -- for a "tourism transformation fund". The plan is not appropriate at a time when the industry is in dire need of recovery, they say.
- Thai consumer confidence picked up for the first time in seven months in September, but business sentiment slid further because of consumers' weak purchasing power, battered by the prolonged Covid outbreak.
- The headline consumer price index (CPI) rose more than expected in September, at 1.6% year-on-year, as government utility subsidies ended and energy prices increased.
- The government will cap diesel prices at 30 baht per litre until the end of the month to help reduce living costs for consumers as global oil prices rise, Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said.
- The Covid outbreak caused fuel consumption in Thailand to decline by 4.4% during the first eight months of 2021.
- The Thai National Shippers Council is feeling more upbeat about export prospects this year after shipments rose for the sixth month in a row in August. It now foresees a 12% annualised gain, the high end of a previous forecast range of 10-12%.
- The new excise tax structure for cigarettes is expected to result in a higher retail price for low-priced products of at least 6 baht per pack, says Excise Department chief Lavaron Sangsnit.
- A subsidiary of PTT Plc will join Tokyo Gas Engineering Solutions Corp in a joint venture to enter the on-site energy business involving liquefied natural gas supply in Thailand.
- PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc (OR) is planning to invest in startups in Southeast Asia, to fuel its new businesses, especially in the area of mobility and lifestyles, under a venture capital fund it recently co-established.
Coming up: The US will release September employment trends on Monday, and Britain will release August employment earnings and unemployment data on Tuesday. The same day, the euro zone and Germany will release August economic sentiment indices and the US will release August job openings.
- China will release September trade figures on Wednesday, Opec will release its monthly oil market report and the US will release September core consumer prices.
- Australia will release September employment data on Thursday, and China will release September consumer and producer prices. The euro zone will release August trade figures on Friday and the US will release September retail sales, and exports and import price index.
Stocks to watch: SCB Securities recommends selective buying of large-cap stocks with good fundamentals, such as BBL, BDMS, HANA, OSP and TU. Also recommended are stocks expected to benefit from reopening, including AOT, CRC, BEM, ZEN, ERW and MINT. The broker also suggested speculative trading of laggards such as OR, OSP, TQM and MAJOR.
- Yuanta Securities says retail stocks will benefit from the easing of lockdown measures, among them BJC, CPALL, CPN and CRC. Demand for home improvement materials after recent flooding will benefit GLOBAL and DOHOME.
Technical view: Maybank Kim Eng sees support at 1,620 points and resistance at 1,670. Kasikorn Securities sees support at 1,615 and resistance at 1,680.