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Thai stocks edge down on profit-taking by local players

Thai stocks edge down on profit-taking by local players

Thailand's stock market was down slightly in morning trading Monday on profit-taking by local players and slim trading from foreign investors who are mostly away for the holidays or awaiting further action from the government.
Shares edged downwards 0.1 percent with the Stock Exchange of Thailand benchmark SET index at 679.43 from Friday's close at 679.29.
Since hitting a nine-year high of 35.09 per U.S. dollar last Monday, the baht weakened to 36.42 Monday, little changed from its Friday close of 36.44.
"There are still selling orders from foreign investors though it will likely subside temporarily during the holiday week," said Amarit Sukgavanij, head of research at Kasikorn Securities. "Still, many will continue to adjust their portfolios in Thailand and take short-term profit."
Analysts said it may take a few months before foreign players regained confidence and readjust their portfolios in Thailand. "Many has taken a wait-and-see approach for now after heavy selling last week," said analyst Ratchanok Dandamrongrak at Finansa Securities.
Thai shares plunged nearly 15 percent Tuesday after the central bank announced regulations restricting foreign capital inflows in an effort to curb the baht's appreciation.
Authorities quickly lifted the controls on foreign stock investment but retained the curbs on bonds and other debt instruments, prompting the benchmark index to bounce back 11 percent Wednesday.
The market recovered most of its losses since then and has been relatively stable in recent days.
On Friday, the central bank began to implement special accounts that will allow foreign investors to bring in unlimited new funds not subject to the earlier 30 percent withholding requirement.
Bank of Thailand Gov. Tarisa Watanagse also said Friday that for the time being there would be no more measures to stem inflows and that there was no target for the baht exchange rate.
Despite the most recent moves, analysts say the market is likely to head lower to test the next support at 670.
"Many are waiting to see when the rest of the measures will be lifted, how volatile the baht will be and what it means in terms of policy direction," Amarit said.
Analysts see no signs of new net inflows but also don't foresee a repeat of the 1997 Asian financial crisis which began in Thailand, noting that unlike a decade ago the Thai and regional economies are in much healthier shape.