ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
On the positive side, Morgan Stanley (MS) shares climbed 4 percent to $31.66 after posting a stronger-than-expected profit on strong fixed income trading. The KBW Banks index edged up 0.5 percent.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares advanced 6 percent to $258.94, a day after the technology bellwether posted quarterly results that eclipsed expectations on record iPhone sales and forecast strong revenue growth.
Earlier in the session Apple hit an all-time intraday high of $260.25.
But healthcare shares weighed on the market, and Gilead Sciences was the top drag on Nasdaq. Some analysts had downgraded the stock based on uncertainty about implementation of the new healthcare reform law in 2010 and 2011.
This has set up a flat day for ASEAN markets but expect good performances from regional banks, chip makers and technology companies.
The Thailand Stock Exchange is now trading on a price to book valuation of 1.6 times, the cheapest in ASEAN, compared with Indonesia’s 3.4, Malaysia’s 1.9, the Philippines’ 2.0, Singapore’s 1.7 and Vietnam’s 2.5.
Thai stocks fell 1 percent on Wednesday as the market continued volatile because of political unrest in Bangkok, Bangkok posted its biggest one-day gain in 15 months on Tuesday but, despite good bank results and net foreign buying, it turned lower on Wednesday.
The market is taking the view that clashes between Thai troops and anti-government protesters are becoming more certain as each day passes. However, protest leaders said they were willing to hold talks through a third party to avert bloody clashes with troops.
Before Tuesday, the market had fallen 8.23 percent in the previous three sessions after violent clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters on April 10 that claimed 25 lives.
Krung Thai Bank KTB fell 2.3 percent despite a 16 percent increase in first-quarter net profit, and Bank of Ayudhya BAY fell 1.5 percent despite doubled quarterly profit, in line with expectations.
Sentiment in ASEAN was upbeat as listed firms kicked off the results season with favourable quarterly earnings thanks to strength in the regional economy. Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam ended in positive territory.
In Singapore, top developer CapitaLand (CATL) eased 0.3 percent but Keppel Land (KLAN) rose 2.2 percent after it posted a 75 percent increase in quarterly net profit. Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) gained 0.66 percent, reversing recent losses, after it reinstated some flights to and from Europe.
Other airlines in the region were mixed, with Malaysian Airline System (MASM.KL) sliding 0.9 percent but Thai Airways THAI rising 1 percent.
In Kuala Lumpur, chip makers gained, with Unisem (UNSM) up 0.6 percent. Broker AmResearch said it expected Malaysian chip makers to deliver strong results, following Intel’s (INTC) stunning performance last week.
In Jakarta, Astra International (ASII) rose 2.9 percent and sixth-largest lender Bank Danamon (BDMN) rose 2.7 percent following the release a day earlier of figures showing first-quarter net profits up 78 percent
In Manila, Ayala Land (ALI.) and Energy Development (EDC) each gained over 4 percent.
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