Thai stocks dip as investors weigh political risk, PTT falls

BANGKOK Mon May 26, 2014 12:46am EDT

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BANGKOK May 26 (Reuters) - Thai stocks edged lower on Monday as investors tried to assess political risk after a military coup last week and looked for companies that could benefit from likely economic stimulus measures or might suffer under the new regime.

The benchmark SET index was down 0.48 percent at 1,390.10, after notching up a modest gain at the opening bell.

Shares in top energy firm PTT, by far the biggest stock on the bourse, dropped more than 2 percent amid concerns about more foreign selling of large-cap shares.

Investors were also cautious about possible reforms in the energy sector and potential changes to the board of state-controlled PTT.

"The worry is about the continuation of PTT's business plan," said strategist Kiatkong Decho of CIMB (Thailand).

The stock market suffered a net foreign outflow of 6.6 billion baht ($202.5 million) on Friday, the day after the army coup, extending foreign selling to $613 million since the army declared martial law last Tuesday.

Local investors have generally been buyers, but brokers advised them to avoid big-cap stocks, including shares in the energy and banking sectors, as these tend to be key stocks in portfolios of foreign investors.

"Investors should closely watch political progress and the new economic plan ... We expect foreigners to slow net sales in the Thai stock market," Maybank Kim Eng Securities wrote in a report.

Shares in building contractors jumped more than 3 percent on expectations the military government would speed up disbursements for infrastructure projects that had been put on hold during months of political unrest.

The third-largest contractor Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Pcl was up almost 3 percent and second-ranked Ch Karnchang Pcl nearly 4 percent.

Italian-Thai Development Pcl, the country's largest construction firm, rose 1.1 percent even though the army has summoned its president, Premchai Karnasuta, to appear before it on Monday.

The baht was little changed, moving around 32.59 baht per dollar versus 32.60 on Friday.

Thai bond yields were higher, with bid yields on five-year bonds at 3.05 percent versus 3.04 percent on Friday, while 10-year yields rose to 3.56 percent from Friday's 3.54 percent. ($1 = 32.5950 Thai Baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Khettiya Jittapong and Wilawan Pongpitak; Editing by Alan Raybould and Jacqueline Wong)

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