SET down 1.96 to 1,520.31 points

SET down 1.96 to 1,520.31 points

Thai stocks slipped 0.1% on Friday in line with the downbeat regional trend, amid thin trade ahead of a four-day holiday weekend.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand Index shed 1.96 points from Thursday to close at 1,520.31, an increase of 1.3% from the previous Friday's close of 1,500.20. Turnover was 39.18 billion baht, with 8.23 billion shares traded.

The local market is up 17% from the end of 2013.

Foreign investors were net sellers on Friday of 1.8 billion baht worth of Thai shares, bringing their net sales for the month to 1.4 billion baht. For the year to date they are net sellers of 28.67 billion baht.

Local institutions were net buyers of 455.5 million baht and brokers sold 381.3 million. Individual investors were net buyers of 1.1 billion baht. 

World stocks sank on Friday as concerns about Iraq and Ukraine escalated, but Chinese stocks rose after surprisingly strong growth in exports.

In New York, Dow and S&P futures were down 0.4% ahead of the openingof Friday trade. European shares fell in the morning session with the German DAX off 0.8%, France's CAC 40 down 0.3% and London's FTSE 100 shedding 0.6%.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 led declines, sliding 3% to 14,778.37 as the yen strengthened. South Korea's Kospi lost 1.1% to 2,031.10 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.2% to 24,331.41. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite Index climbed 0.3% to 2,194.42. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.3% to 5,435.30. Markets in India and Southeast Asia fell.

Investors fretted about the effect of Russia's decision to retaliate against sanctions over the Ukraine crisis with a ban on food imports from the West. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama authorised US airstrikes in northern Iraq, warning they would be launched to defend American troops and civilians under siege from Islamic State militants.

In Bangkok, the SET50 index of blue chips ended at 1,018.47 points, down 3.24, on turnover of 19.52 billion baht, and the SET100 lost 5.44 points to 2,252.99 in trade worth 28 billion. The SETHD index of high-dividend shares lost 3.55 points to 1,204.22, with turnover of 7.33  billion baht. The Market for Alternative Investment gained 9.74 points to 599.40, with transaction value of 3.19 billion baht.

In the currency markets,the baht strengthened on news that exports from China, Thailand's biggest market, beat forecasts by rising 14.5% from a year earlier in July.

The baht was trading late Friday in Bangkok at 32.13/15 to the dollar, compared with 32.27.29 the day before and 32.25/27 a week earlier.

"China’s trade numbers improved sentiment and supported regional currencies," said Disawat Tiaowvanich, a foreign-exchange trader at Bangkok Bank. "The baht may be stronger in the medium term but we may see downward pressure in the short term from geopolitical risks involving the US and Iraq."

In the debt market, 10-year government bonds gained, pushing the yield to a 14-month low, as geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East lifted demand for the relative safety of government debt.

The yield on the 3.625% sovereign notes due in June 2023 declined 19 basis points in the past five days, the biggest drop since Sept. 20, to 3.40%

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