Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thailand's SET plunges on worries

Newspaper section: Business

Thai stocks dropped 2.25% yesterday (Friday) and the main index slid under the 550-point barrier as most Asian markets closed lower amid fresh worries about the global economy.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand closed at 548.77 points, down 12.64, in trade worth 24.33 billion baht. The losses came after four straight days of gains.

Energy stocks fell 3.26%, banks lost 1.85% and property shares fell 0.33%. Foreign investors were net buyers of 188.97 million baht in stocks yesterday, with retail investors net buyers of 1.47 billion and local institutions net sellers of 1.66 billion.

Terdsak Taveethiratham, head of research of Asia Plus Securities, said profit-taking by investors locking in gains from the past few weeks depressed the market.

Fundamental factors also were negative, including the surprise decision by the central bank on Wednesday to hold interest rates unchanged even as exports in the first four months of the year fell by 21.9% from the year before.

Declines in crude oil prices hit blue-chip energy counters, with PTT Plc falling 2.7% to 214 baht and PTT Exploration and Production off 4.3% to 123.50 baht.

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