SET 5th in world in 2012
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SET 5th in world in 2012

The Stock Exchange of Thailand on Friday finished a banner year as the fifth best performing share market in the world.

The SET Index dipped 5.26 points in the final trading session of 2012 to close at 1,391.93, up 1.35% from 1,373.38 the previous Friday. The index crossed 1,400 in the morning, peaking at 1,402.86, but could not maintain its momentum.

The last time the SET closed above 1,400 was in January 1996. The highest closing ever was 1,789.16 on Jan 5, 1994.

Friday's closing brought the gain in the SET index to 35.7% from 1,025.32 points at the end of 2011. However, the figure was still short of the 40.6% gain registered in 2010 and 63.25% in 2009.

A Thai investor watches stock movements at a private trading firm in Bangkok. (AFP photo)

Globally, only the stock exchanges of Venezuela (up 299.65% from the end of 2011), Turkey (53%), Egypt (49.6%) and Pakistan (49.2%) recorded better growth than the SET, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The third-best performer in Asia after Karachi and Bangkok was Manila, which rose 32.95%.

Turnover on Friday was 34.62 billion baht, with 17.6 billion shares traded. The market will be closed on Monday.

Daily average trading turnover on the SET this year has been close to 31 billion baht, compared with 28.8 billion in 2011. The market's capitalisation now exceeds 11 trillion baht, up from 8.4 trillion a year earlier.

Foreign investors were net buyers on Friday of 1.58 billion baht worth of Thai shares and local brokers bought 457.1 million. Local institutions were net sellers of 267.39 million baht and individual investors sold 1.77 billion.

Stock Exchange of Thailand statistics for 2012 show a total of 266.76 billion baht in capital mobilised through the stock market, the highest in 10 years.

A total of 154 public companies raised funds, including 119 mobilising 237.35 billion via the Stock Exchange of Thailand and 35 raising 10.81 billion baht via the Market for Alternative Investment. Five property funds mobilised 14.61 billion baht through the SET.

PTT Exploration and Production (PTTEP) raised the highest amount of funds on the SET at 92.3 billion baht, followed by Krung Thai Bank (KTB) at 35.2 billion.

Twenty-four companies made Initial Public Offerings (IPO) through the SET in 2012, raising a total of 113 billion baht in 2012, the highest in 10 years.

Securities companies were expected to have a better performance in 2012 as average daily trading value was 30.76 billion baht through Dec 6, compared with 28.54 billion baht for all of last year.

Brokers had feared that their margins would narrow as the industry underwent full liberlisation in terms of commission fee and business licences at the start of 2012.

Most Asian stock markets rose on Friday, hours before President Barack Obama and key lawmakers were to meet at the White House to try to reach an 11th-hour budget compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Wall Street also appeared set for a session of gains.

European shares were mixed in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.1% to 5,959.89. Germany's DAX was nearly flat at 7,653.34. France's CAC-40 shed 0.1% to 3.670.03.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index rose 0.7% to 10,395.18, its highest level since March 2011. The Nikkei finished the year up 23%, its best annual gain since 2005.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.2% to 22,666.59, while South Korea's Kospi added 0.5% to 1,997.05. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.5% to 4,671.30.

Most Asian markets will be closed on Monday. Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore will have half-day sessions.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 945.39 points, down 5.90 points, with total trade value of 17.96 billion baht. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares fell 9.21 points to 1,231.91, with turnover of 6.68 billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment slipped 0.21 to 415.68, with transaction value of 1.51 billion baht.

The five most active shares by value were led by two property developers: Univentures (UV), rising 1.50 baht to 11.70; and Raimon Land (RML), up 22 satang to 2.14 baht; PTT, down 3 baht to 332; Shin Corp (INTUCH), down one baht to 69; and PTTEP, rising 50 satang to 164 baht.

In the currency market, the baht advanced the most in more than a week as foreign investors continued to buy Thai stocks and bonds.

Global money managers have poured a net 22 billion baht into Thai equities this month, compared with 6.2 billion in November, SET figures show.

Markets have been responding to the healthy economic outlook, with gross domestic product forecast to rise 5.7% this year, exceeding a previous forecast of 5.5%, the Finance Ministry said this week.

"In terms of growth, the [Thai] economy is on track," said Julia Goh, an economist at CIMB Investment Bank in Kuala Lumpur. "I'm quite confident about next year’s growth as domestic demand has strengthened, offsetting the risk from lingering external headwinds."

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 30.60/62 to the dollar, compared with 30.65/67 on Thursday and 30.59/63 a week earlier. The currency was little changed this week and appreciated 3.1% this year, after advancing 5% in 2011.

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