STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Banks outperform ahead of Q1 results

BANGKOK, April 12 Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:15am EDT

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BANGKOK, April 12 (Reuters) - Shares in Thai banks rose 1.5 percent, bouncing after sharp falls in past four sessions and outperforming Thailand's main SET index, as several brokers rated the sector a buy, citing expectations of good first-quarter earnings.

Thai banks will report January-March quarter earnings from April 17, when the market reopens after the Songkran holiday.

Broker Krungsri Securities said nine banks under its coverage would post a combined first quarter net profit of 36.6 billion baht ($1.18 billion), up 83.2 percent from the previous quarter.

"We maintain an overweight rating on the sector to reflect a good earnings growth outlook and strong balance sheets," Krungsri said in a research note.

Leading gainers, Kasikornbank Pcl climbed 2.4 percent to 152 baht, Siam Commercial Bank Pcl gained 1.8 percent to 142.5 baht and smaller Thanachart Capital Pcl was up 3.3 percent to 31.25 baht.

The SET index rose 0.73 percent.

1230 (0530 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; viparat.jantraprapaweth@thomsonreuters.com)

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11:32 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Toyo Thai at 3-week highs on revenue outlook

Shares of construction firm Toyo Thai Corporation Pcl TTCL.BK gained as much as 2.8 percent to a three-week high of 14.7 baht in brisk volume following the company's plan to bid for new projects worth a combined 70 billion baht ($2.27 billion).

Toyo Thai shares were up 2.1 percent at 14.6 baht, with around 1.8 million shares traded, 1.16 times its average full-day volume traded over the last 30 sessions.

Broker Kiatnakin Securities rated the stock a speculative buy, citing the company's 2012 revenue growth target of 20-30 percent, boosted by 15 billion baht ($485.44 million) worth of onworking projects and its plans to bid for 15-17 new projects at home and abroad.

Toyo Thai shares had risen 23.7 percent this year, outpacing the broader market's .SETI gain of 13.7 percent.

1129 (0429 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; viparat.jantraprapaweth@thomsonreuters.com)

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09:38 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Kasikorn raises BECL's price target

Kasikorn Securities raised its price target on Thai road operator Bangkok Expressway Pcl BECL.BK to 24 baht ($0.78) from 21.4 baht ($0.69) thanks to an extra gain from the sale of investments in an energy firm and profits from a power firm.

Bangkok Expressway shares ended flat at 21.70 baht ($0.70) on Wednesday and have gained 19.2 percent this year. Kasikorn maintained its outperform rating.

The company would book an extra gain after tax of about 1.27 billion baht ($41.10 million) from the sale of its stake in Southeast Asia Energy (SEAN) to CK Power energy, pending shareholder approval on April 25, the broker said.

"Earnings should jump in the second quarter of 2012 from the extra gain from the sale of its investment in SEAN," the broker said.

Bangkok Expressway was expected to book equity income from its investment in CK Power of about 120 million baht per year, which would account for 8 percent of the broker's previous forecast for 2012 net profit, the broker said.

0930 (0230 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; viparat.jantraprapaweth@thomsonreuters.com)

($1 = 30.90 baht)

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