January 31, 2014 / 5:41 AM / 4 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares snap losing streak in weak January

BANGKOK, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Thai stocks edged higher on
Friday, helped by selective buying in shares of blue chip firms
such as Siam Cement, but light volumes suggested
investors in large part stayed on the defensive ahead of the
election on Sunday.
    The key SET index was up 0.5 percent at 1,270.52 at
0445 GMT, with around 1.2 billion shares changing hands, only a
quarter of a full-day's average over the past 30 sessions.
    The gauge is heading for a 2.2 percent drop in January, a
third month of fall and was among the regional underperformers, 
amid the prolonged domestic political turmoil and concerns the
Feb. 2 poll may not solve the current deadlock. 
    The Thai commerce ministry said exports rose slightly more
than expected in December but the pace was still gradual,
suggesting a cornerstone of the economy remains weak as
political unrest in Bangkok undermines growth. 
    Southeast Asian stock markets had mixed monthly
performances. Singapore declined 4.4 percent on the
month and was the worst performer. Vietnam jumped 10.3
percent, followed by Indonesia at 3.4 percent.
    Most of the region, including Singapore, Malaysia,
Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam, was closed on
Friday for the Lunar New Year holiday.
    In its latest Thailand equity strategy report, UBS
Securities (Thailand) recommended investors to accumulate stocks
on weakness post-elections. Its 2014 SET index target was 1,500,
an 18 percent potential upside from current 1,270 level.
    "We now move to 100 percent invested (buy into a possible
dip after 2 February election; clashes this weekend could cause
weakness next week). We believe strong investor appetite at 5-10
percent below current levels offers market support," it said.
    Among the bright spots, shares of Siam Cement gained 1
percent after the industrial conglomerate reported
stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, which analysts
said could lead to a rating upgrade. 
    "SCC is transforming from a domestic cement and building
materials play to increasingly higher petrochemical earnings ...
We expect a share price re-rating on earnings growth in 2014,"
CIMB Securities said in a report.
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 Change at 0535 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 Bangkok            1269.19       1264.07       +0.41

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