STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Thai Oil falls after Q4 earnings miss

Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:57am EST

Shares in Thai Oil Pcl fell as much as 2.7 percent to 71.5 baht after Thailand's biggest refiner reported weaker-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and as brokers cited its unattractive valuation.

The poorer-than-expected refining margin on rising crude costs led to the weak results, which were 20 percent below consensus, CIMB Securities said. High volatility of margins for Thai Oil's products led to unpredictable earnings, the broker said.

"While we expect an earnings improvement in 2013 on the back of no inventory loss and better petrochemical margins, we believe this has already been priced in by the market," the broker said.

"Further upside from refinery looks unlikely given oversupply and weak demand. Given TOP is now trading at 10x CY13 P/E, on par with the regional peer average, we believe upside is limited," it said.

Thirteen of 26 analysts rated the stock a "strong buy" or "buy", eight had a "hold" and five rated it at "sell", according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

1532 (0832 GMT)

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(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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14:10 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Macquarie downgrades Bangkok Bank; KTB, Kbank top picks

Macquarie Equities Research downgraded Bangkok Bank Pcl BBL.BK to 'neutral' from 'outperform', citing limited share price upside and cutting 2013-14 earnings forecast for the bank, in part reflecting lower net interest margins.

While Bangkok Bank continues to provide strong downside risk protection due to high loan loss reserves and capital ratio perspectives, its core operation has lost steam and earnings could disappoint due to funding costs and weak fee income growth, the research house said in a report on Thai banks dated Feb. 14.

Its stock target price was 230 baht. Bangkok Bank shares were down 0.9 percent at 212 baht at the midsession break versus a 0.03 percent gain of the banking subindex .SETB.

The broker reiterated its 'overweight' rating on Thai banks and raised 2013-14 forecasts by 0.5-4 percent with a three-year earnings compounded annual growth rate of 14 percent. It kept its 'outperform' rating on Krung Thai Bank KTB.BK and Kasikornbank KBAN.BK.

"Of the large banks, our two favourites remain KTB and KBANK, but places are switched, with KTB now the outright favourite based on its low valuations and growth prospects," it said.

Krung Thai shares were up 1 percent at 25.75 baht, versus the broker's target price of 24.9 baht. Kasikornbank shares were up 0.5 percent at 204 baht, hitting the broker's target price of 204 baht.

1345 (0645 GMT)

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

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13:17 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Thai Airways outperform; seen laggard

Shares in Thai Airways International Pcl THAI.BK hit their highest in nine months in strong trading volume amid optimism about the tourism industry and earnings outlook of the national carrier.

Broker Kasikorn Securities advised investors to buy Thai Airways, saying the stock was laggard.

At the midday break of 0530 GMT, Thai Airways shares were up 2.9 percent at 24.5 baht, climbing at one point to 24.7 baht, the highest since May 15, 2012. About 36 million shares have changed hands, 4.5 times a full-day average of the past 30 sessions.

Thai Airways shares had risen 11 percent so far this year versus Airports of Thailand's Pcl AOT.BK year-to-date gain of 20 percent and Asia Aviation's Pcl AAV.BK year-to-date gain of 42 percent.

1306 (0606 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by G.Ram Mohan)

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