STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Nomura upgrades SET index to 1,600

Tue Feb 5, 2013 10:57pm EST

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Nomura Equity Research raised its target on the Thai SET index to 1,600, the level last seen in January 1994, from 1,555, reflecting its bullish view on the banking and property sectors.

The new SET index target would put Thailand at 14.6 times forward price-to-earnings multiple, it said.

The index was down 0.2 percent at 1,502.70 on Wednesday. It has risen 8 percent so far this year and is Southeast Asia's third-best performing bourse. It hit an 18-year closing high of 1,506.37 on Monday.

"We still have high conviction on the government's pledge to spend $72 billion over the next seven years on infrastructure," the broker said in a report.

Nomura recently upgraded Krung Thai Bank Pcl and TMB Bank Pcl to 'buy' on expectations of their turnaround stories and raised target prices on Quality Houses Pcl, Pruksa Real Estate Pcl and Land and Houses Pcl, reflecting earnings per share growth upgrades.

Nomura said it would continue to be overweight on domestic stocks over cyclical ones. "Risks to our bullish view include politics, inflation, and potential bubbles in household debt," it said.

1041 (0341 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

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10:09 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Maybank Kim cuts Airports of Thailand to 'hold'

Maybank Kim Eng Securities downgraded its rating on Airports of Thailand Pcl AOT.BK to 'hold' from 'buy', saying the stock price was now overvalued.

Airports shares rose 0.5 percent to 105 baht on Wednesday, above the broker's target price of 102 baht. The stock had risen 32 percent so far since Oct. 1, the start of the company's fiscal year 2012/13, reflecting strong earnings for the year.

That compared with a 16 percent gain of the broader SET index .SETI for the same period.

"We estimate AOT will report a strong 1Q12/13 norm profit (Oct-Dec) on the heavy seasonal impact and the dual-airport benefit," the broker said in a report.

It expected a limited upside of stock price in the near term as the company's core Suvannabhumi airport's phase 3 and 4 expansion would take another eight years to finish.

"The record passenger numbers in the first quarter of 20.8 million is already 27 percent of our 2012/13F target ... In our view, the price already reflects this growth momentum," it said.

0954 (0254 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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