SET moves lower despite upbeat Asian trend

SET moves lower despite upbeat Asian trend

RECAP: Asian shares rose yesterday on prospects for a steady economic recovery in China, and after Wall Street reversed losses following remarks by a Fed official that signalled a measured approach to raising US interest rates.

The SET index remained under pressure from disappointing fourth-quarter financial results and downbeat sentiment about the global macroeconomy.

Thai shares moved in a range of 1,604.14 and 1,637.41 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,608.88, down 1.5% from the previous week, in daily turnover averaging 61.56 billion baht.

Retail investors were net buyers of 7.24 billion baht, followed by institutions at 2.46 billion baht. Foreign investors were net sellers of 9.17 billion and brokers sold a net 254.65 million baht worth of shares.

NEWSMAKERS: US interest rates will need to rise to between 5% and 5.25%, from the current range of 4.5% to 4.75%, and remain there "until well into 2024", Atlanta Fed president Raphael Bostic said on Wednesday. This, he said, would allow the central bank to bring persistently high US inflation under control.

  • Annual inflation in the euro zone remained high at 8.5% in February, almost unchanged from 8.6% in January, led by food costs, suggesting the European Central Bank will need to keep pushing up its benchmark rate.
  • Core consumer prices in Tokyo rose 3.3% in February from a year earlier, matching market forecasts and slowing from a 42-year high of 4.3% in January. The slowdown mainly reflected the effect of energy subsidies to reduce high utility bills.
  • Banks in Japan will lend $200 million to the Indonesian state-owned power company PLN as part of a Tokyo-backed effort to speed a transition from coal to renewable energy in the region.
  • The British chip technology company Arm, owned by SoftBank of Japan, on Friday announced plans to pursue a US-only share listing this year.
  • China will consider extending tax breaks on purchases of electric vehicles past the end of 2023 in a move aimed at supporting economic growth. Sales of new energy vehicles in China, including electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell models -- totalled 6.88 million in 2022 and are projected to grow 30% this year.
  • The Adani family on Thursday sold shares worth $1.87 billion in four group companies to the US-based asset manager GQG Partners as the embattled Indian conglomerate seeks to raise funds after a short-seller attack in January wiped out $130 billion in market value.
  • Tesla shares drifted down 2% after the company said it aimed to cut vehicle assembly costs by half, but offered no updates on a next-generation EV touted earlier by talkative chief executive Elon Musk.
  • The Binance USD stablecoin has been hit by $6 billion of outflows following a US regulatory crackdown on the company that issues the token on behalf of the world's largest crypto exchange. The US Securities and Exchange Commission said Paxos Trust Company should have registered the product as a security.
  • Foreign investors were net sellers of 37 billion baht worth of shares on the SET in February, the most among Asian bourses for the month and the biggest net sell-off on the exchange since April 2020, with several factors pressuring investments, according to analysts.
  • Shares of the new True Corporation, the entity formed from the merger of True and Total Access Communication (DTAC) made their debut on the Stock Exchange of Thailand yesterday, closing at 8.60 baht after opening at 8.30 baht. Southeast Asia's largest telecom merger has left the market with only two major players, the other being Advanced Info Service (AIS).
  • The dollar value of Thai exports fell for a fourth straight month in January as global demand slowed, with shipments expected to contract further in the first half of the year, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. Exports fell 4.5% year-on-year after a 14.6% slump in December. Imports rose 5.5%, resulting in a decade-high trade deficit of $4.65 billion in January.
  • Land and Houses Financial Business Group (LHFG), a holding company of LH Bank (LHBANK), aims to expand its Taiwanese banking business more aggressively this year, boosted by manufacturing relocation by multinational and Taiwanese firms to Asean. LH Bank targets expanding its outstanding loans by 55% this year to 15 billion baht.
  • The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) forecasts that electricity bills will not exceed 5 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) after the mid-year power tariff revision, following a drop in liquefied national gas (LNG) prices. The current rate for businesses, in effect from January to April, is 5.33 baht a unit.
  • Sansiri Plc (SIRI) plans to launch a hotel-branded residential project in Hua Hin next year, pinning its hopes on its hospitality business called The Standard International as tourism is expected to boom for three years. The Standard Residences Hua Hin will be located on a freehold 10-rai beachfront plot near The Standard Hotel.
  • Assetwise Plc (ASW), a lifestyle real estate developer, has strengthened its partnership with the Japanese real estate giant Takara Leben to launch a 1.35-billion-baht condominium in Min Buri district of Bangkok. Atmoz Flow Minburi condominium is the third joint venture by the two companies.
  • The Manufacturing Production Index (MPI) rose 6.6% from December to a 10-month high of 99.8 points in January, thanks to more business activity, driven by an uptick in tourism. However, the index was still down 4.35% year-on-year due to the global economic slowdown.
  • The cabinet on Thursday approved a new rubber price guarantee scheme for the 2022-23 season, pledging to spend 7.6 billion baht to cover 1.6 million farmers with a combined 18.2 million rai.
  • Super Energy Corporation (SUPER), the country's largest operator of solar farms by capacity, aims to increase revenue in 2024 and 2025 by allocating capital spending of 41.5 billion baht to fund renewable projects in Thailand and Vietnam. It expects revenue to reach 15 billion baht in 2024 and 20 billion in 2025.
  • NR Instant Produce (NRF), a producer and distributor of vegetarian and plant-based food, plans to acquire a grocery and cash-and-carry store with combined sales of $36 million in London in the first half as it completes its trading ecosystem.
  • Thai Airways International says it intends to absorb struggling Thai Smile Airways to reduce losses and improve strategic management, by the end of this year.

COMING UP: The EU will report January retail sales and the US will release January factory orders on Monday. On Tuesday, China will release February trade data and the US will report wholesale inventories. On Wednesday, the US will report private payrolls and labour turnover rates for January.

  • Locally, the SET will report February securities trading statistics next week. The Ministry of Commerce will update its trade and economic index on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations will release its investor confidence update.

STOCKS TO WATCH: Trinity Securities says banking stocks, particularly KBANK and SCB, are becoming more attractive amid speculation about another Bank of Thailand interest rate hike at the end of the month.

  • Also recommended are tourism-linked firms that continue to see strong momentum, including MINT, CENTEL, ERW, VRANDA and DUSIT. Domestic plays include property firms AMATA, AP, AWC, CPN and SPALI; BH in the medical field, and retail firms CRC, MAKRO and MEGA. Recommended election-linked plays are SC, SIRI, PR9, STEC, STPI and PTG.
  • Tisco Securities' picks for March are ADVANC, AEONTS, AUCT, BDMS, CPALL, HMPRO, ICHI and MINT.

TECHNICAL VIEW: Trinity Securities sees support at 1,600 points and resistance at 1,660. Tisco Securities sees support at 1,600 and resistance at 1,670.

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