SET rises 5.09 points

SET rises 5.09 points

Thai stocks rose slightly on Friday but finished the week down sharply from a week earlier.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index gained 5.09 points to close at 1,178.01, down 2.5% from the previous Friday, in modest trade worth 26.66 billion baht with 4.03 billion shares traded.

Foreigners were net buyers of 759.16 million baht worth of shares while individual investors bought 796.6 million. Institutional investors sold 389.5 million baht in shares and brokers sold 1.16 billion.

Asian stocks generally rose on Friday after the head of the European Central Bank vowed to save the euro from the continent's debt crisis.

European shares faded in early trade on Friday after the ECB comments sparked big gains a day earlier.

Asian markets also got a boost from Samsung's record-high quarterly profit. Customers flocked to the Korean company's Galaxy smartphones in the April-June quarter, giving Samsung a 28% share worldwide against 23% for the Apple iPhone.

Samsung Electronics shares rose 5.2% in Seoul to lift the overall Kospi 2.6%. Japan's Nikkei 225 closed up 1.5% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 2% to 19,274.96.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue-chips ended at 812.36 points, up 3.57, on turnover of 19.33 billion baht. The SETHD index of high-dividend stocks gained 7.67 points to 1,065.93, with trade value of 7.35 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment gained 1.50 points to 300.12.

The five most active stocks by value on the SET were the coal miner Banpu, falling 8 baht to 398; Siam Commercial Bank, up 3 baht to 153; Kasikornbank, up 2 baht to 166.50; Charoen Pokphand Foods, unchanged at 32 baht; and Advanced Info Service, down 1 baht to 200 baht.

In the currency market, the baht had a weekly advance amid speculation that exporters had stepped up purchases of the currency after it sank to the weakest level in almost two years.

The baht reached 32 to the dollar on Monday, the weakest level since August 2010, as Europe's worsening debt crisis bolstered demand for the greenback. Global funds sold $197 million more Thai equities than they bought this week through Thursday, SET data show.

"The fact that the dollar was at such a high level versus the baht, it was an opportune time to convert," said Sacha Tihanyi, a strategist at Scotiabank in Hong Kong.

"[ECB chief Mario] Draghi's comments were certainly a big help for the baht against the dollar."

The baht strengthened 0.4% on the week and was trading late yesterday in Bangkok at 31.52/54 to the dollar, compared with 31.59/61 on Thursday.

The yield on the 3.25% bonds due in June 2017 fell four basis points to 3.14% this week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Bank of Thailand kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3% on Wednesday and said it was prepared to help support the economy if needed.

Thailand's industrial production index dropped 9.6% in June from a year earlier after a revised 6% expansion in May, the Office of Industrial Economics said on Friday.

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