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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs       9  May 2011

Thai stocks call for patience

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Despite high volatility and dips last week, the Thai stock market is still considered attractive for long-term investors who want to start accumulating good stocks at discounted prices or long-term equity funds, say analysts.

Monrat Phadungsit, president of One Asset Management, said market sentiment last week abruptly changed due to several factors. One of them was the release of US economic figures and the imminent end of its quantitative easing measures.

"We have to see whether the US moves will pull foreign funds out of emerging markets," said Mr. Monrat.

He said the sharp fall on Friday in global equities markets, including the Stock Exchange of Thailand, was caused by disappointing US jobs data and signals that Opec would raise its oil output. This led to oil prices falling 10 percent and commodities including gold and silver plunging.

"This should be a short-term reaction by the markets. But for the long term, it should be a positive factor as lower oil prices mean less inflation, which should propel the country's gross domestic product," he explained.

Over the short term, commodities stocks are likely to face corrections but they should arrive at suitable levels soon, he said.

"For the long term, the Thai economy is still sound and inflation is manageable. Even if overseas investors leave the Thai bourse, they will come back."

As of May 4, he said, the SET's price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) stood at 12.8 times, down from about 15 earlier in the year and an appealing figure for foreign investors.

He recommended investors start accumulating stocks or mutual funds when the index drops to around 1,025 to 1,030 points.

Currently the SET is risky because it has risen a lot lately, he added. Sanupong Sutadthammakul, fund analyst at Phillip Securities, agreed the SET would remain volatile for the next few weeks and it could slip further.

Key factors pressuring the market include concern about the economic recovery of the US, its currency and oil prices. He said investors needed to monitor the reaction of the US government after quantitative easing ends in June. The EU debt crisis and the poor US employment data also affect sentiment.

Mr. Sanupong believes the Thai stock market is still interesting for long-term investment. The support level should be around 1,020 points while the resistance level is 1,150 points. In the meantime, investors should avoid index funds and stick with funds that have stock selection strategies.

"Those wanting to invest in long-term equity funds (LTFs) might wait until the index touches its support level and then start accumulating," he suggested.

The investment trend now is moving away from large-cap stocks to small- to medium-cap offerings. "Investors should take a long-term investment approach, because the market will remain volatile in the short term," Mr Sanupong cautioned.

The death of Osama bin Laden won't have a big impact on local sentiment, but it is possible more terrorism threats could cause volatility in global markets.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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