Washington soap opera keeps investors on edge

Washington soap opera keeps investors on edge

Recap: Signs of an end to the US fiscal standoff and a deal on the debt ceiling lifted global stocks last week. However, any increase in the debt ceiling is likely to be for a few weeks only, so uncertainty will prevail.

The SET Index traded in the range of 1,411.11 and 1,469.59 points and closed on Friday at 1,457.78, up 2.1% from the week before, with moderate trading value of 38.73 billion baht a day. Foreign investors were net buyers of 1.69 billion baht and brokers bought 2.65 billion. Local institutions were net sellers of 574.92 million baht and local retail investors sold 3.76 billion.

Big movers: Thaire Life Assurance (THREL) made its SET debut, closing Friday at 10.10 baht, 6.3% above its IPO price of 9.50 baht. The top three shares by turnover were TRUE, up 16.4% to 9.96 baht; KBANK, up 6.2% to 188 baht; and ITD, down 24.3% to 1.06 baht.

Bangkok Land (BLAND) led in volume, unchanged at 1.71 baht. Mandarin Hotel (MANRIN), last week's top gainer, rose 10.4% to 25.50 baht.

Newsmakers: Investors' optimism that the 2-trillion-baht infrastructure borrowing bill will pass the Senate and legal hurdles is increasing.

- The US Federal Reserve's asset purchases, expected to continue into next year, could lure offshore funds to the Thai capital market in the short run, says Andre De Silva, Asia-Pacific head of HSBC. As long as debt and budget issues remain unsettled, he said, the Fed would be reluctant to begin winding down its US$85-billion-a-month asset-buying scheme.

- The rice-pledging programme is estimated to have accumulated financial losses of 600 billion baht in the past two harvest years, the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) says. It bases the estimate on the assumption that the government can release all rice stocks within four years.

- The Thai Board of Investment (BoI) has agreed to form a partnership with China Development Bank Corporation (CDB) to promote direct investment between the countries.

- Siam Cement Group expects a slight dip in 2013 revenue from its original forecast because flooding is starting to hit sales of construction materials.

- PTT will spend 5.45 billion baht to expand its retail business over the next five years. It will spend 3 billion baht at home to relocate or upgrade existing stations and build new ones.

- PTTEP has cut its 2013 sales volume growth target to 7% from 10% after confronting several problems.

- CP All plans a 30-billion-baht bond issue, with an additional 10-billion greenshoe option, to refinance debt after taking a huge bridge loan to finance its acquisition of Siam Makro.

- Minor flooding at Chon Buri's Amata Nakorn Industrial Estate forced an auto parts factory and an electronic parts plant to close temporarily due to transport disruptions.

- Industrial estates in the North, Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani remain at risk of flooding, but the situation in Prachin Buri is expected to be resolved within a week, says the Industrial Works Department. The 304 Industrial Park in Prachin Buri has been spared from the inundation.

- PTT Global Chemical and Thai Oil have been added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, bringing the Thai firms on the indices to four, alongside PTT and SCC. PTTCG was in DJSI World index and TOP was put in the newly established DJSI Emerging Markets.

Coming up this week: The Energy Policy and Planning Office will announce its rooftop solar winners today.

- Also due today are euro zone industrial production for August and US unemployment data for September.

- The Bank of Thailand's Monetary Policy Committee will meet on Wednesday, with no change in the 2.45% policy rate expected.

- Singapore will announce its third quarter GDP this week.

Stocks to watch: Bualuang Securities recommends buying CPF on an expected Q4 earnings turnaround. It also recommends buying BECL, MONO and SCC and selling AMATA.

- Asia Plus recommends stocks that will gain from asset sales such as CPN, TICON, HEMRAJ and HMPRO.

Technical view: Asia Plus sees support at 1,380 and 1,400 and resistance at 1,472 and 1,500. Krungsri Securities sees support at 1,426 and 1,440 and resistance at 1,475 and 1,500.

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