Big-spending Biden lifts investors’ spirits

Recap: The US equity futures rose ahead of data expected to show the biggest increase of jobs in five months. Investors are optimistic about the US economic recovery after President Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal and the upcoming corporate earnings season.

The SET index moved in a range of 1,580.90 and 1,606.41 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,596.27, up 1.36% from the previous week, in daily turnover averaging 80.88 billion baht.

Institutional investors were net buyers of 3.66 billion baht and foreign investors bought 3.19 billion baht. Retail investors was net sellers of 6.28 billion baht while brokerage firms offloaded 575.17 million baht worth of shares.

Newsmakers: Economic growth led by the United States and China is accelerating, amplifying the risks of an uneven global recovery, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

– President Joe Biden unveiled a $2-trillion infrastructure plan aimed at modernising America’s crumbling transport network, creating millions of jobs and delivering a “once-in-a-generation” investment, enabling the US to stay ahead of China on the global economic stage.

– Nuclear power should be one of the power sources eligible for clean energy incentives under President Biden’s infrastructure plan, his climate adviser said.

– Coinbase Global Inc, the largest US cryptocurrency exchange, has received approval from securities regulators to list its shares on the Nasdaq in New York, a landmark victory for cryptocurrency advocates.

– The US isn’t ready to lift tariffs on Chinese imports in the near future, but might be open to trade negotiations with Beijing, according to US Trade Representative Katherine Tai.

– Britain sanctioned a Myanmar conglomerate on Thursday for its links to the military leadership, which Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said was wantonly killing innocent people including children.

– Rising raw-materials costs and supply-chain constraints are prompting many Chinese exporters to increase prices, raising fears it may add to global inflationary pressures.

– As Apple moves ahead with long-promised plans to make it harder to target certain iPhone users with ads, advertising companies and software developers are preparing for major disruptions to the $400-billion digital advertising industry.

– The Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp has announced plans to invest about $10 billion over the next decade to produce electric cars, embarking on its biggest-ever overhaul to enter China’s booming EV market.

– The Bank of Thailand saw signs of recovery in February, mainly supported by higher private consumption and a slower spread of Covid-19. Private consumption still shrank by 2.1% year-on-year but that was an improvement from a 4.5% drop in January. On a monthly basis, consumption grew 3.4% in February.

– The country’s economic growth is expected to accelerate from 2023 to 2024, driven by public investment, after a slow recovery from the impact of the pandemic, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Wednesday.

– The government’s ambitious goal of 4% growth this year will be difficult to meet, requiring a lot of effort and a host of supporting factors such as higher exports, recovering foreign tourist arrivals and active private investment, says the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office (FPO).

– Spending during the upcoming Songkran festival is expected to dive by 17% from 2019 to 113 billion baht, the lowest in nine years, as consumers remain worried about the pandemic and weak purchasing power, according to a survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce.

– The Thai Chamber of Commerce vows to help revitalise the economy in 99 days under its “Connect the Dots” policy, with faster vaccine distribution at the core.

– Three key economic stimulus packages — the co-payment subsidy scheme, the We Win financial aid programme and the Section 33 We Love Each Other programme — are estimated to have pumped at least 250 billion baht in monetary circulation as of March 25.

– The government is set to roll out the second phase of the One Million Houses low-cost housing scheme worth between 30 billion and 50 billion baht with fixed-rate mortgages of 2% to stimulate the property sector.

– The Public Health Ministry has pledged to progressively roll out almost 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine across all 77 provinces by August.

– The government expects about 2 million foreign tourists, mostly Chinese and Europeans, to visit Phuket this year after the resort island reopens to vaccinated visitors from July 1. Foreign tourists who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to visit six tourism provinces beginning next month but they will still face quarantines of 7-10 days.

– The Tourism and Sports Ministry is considering offering free cross-provincial flights for foreign tourists as airline workers have been approved for priority vaccination.

– Thailand’s labour force is recovering from a plunge last year when 3 million people lost their jobs because of the pandemic. People with IT skills are in great demand as organisations gear up for digital transformation, according to the job search platform JobsDB.

– The government has expressed confidence the Tour Tiew Thai stimulus project will help the sector recover from the Covid-induced slump with about 15.5 billion baht expected to be generated.

– China and Hong Kong are expected to dominate foreign direct investment in Thailand over the next 5-10 years thanks to its rapidly recovering economy during the pandemic and the Chinese government’s policy to encourage overseas investment amid a trade row with the US, says the Board of Investment (BoI).

– PTTEP announced the discovery of petroleum at Sirung-1, a wildcat well off the coast of Malaysia’s Sarawak state, as it seeks to bolster its reserves for long-term growth.

Coming up: Thailand will release March inflation on Monday, Japan will release March services PMI and the US will release March composite indicators.

– Australia will announce an interest rate decision on Tuesday, and the US will release February job openings and short-term energy outlook. The euro zone and Canada will release March PMI on Wednesday, and the US and Canada will release February trade data.

– Thailand will release March household confidence on Thursday. The US will release March producer prices on Friday, Canada will release March empoloyment data and Germany will release February trade figures.

Stocks to watch: Asia Plus Securities recommends BDMS, CENTEL and SPALI. BDMS’s revenue is expected to rise as international patients start returning with the easing of travel and quarantine restrictions. CENTEL will benefit from reopening of international tourism and new investment plans. SPALI is expected to grow along with the economic recovery while interest rates remains low and dividend payments high.

– SCB Securities recommends defensive stocks such as ADVANC, BCH, CHG, BGRIM, GPSC and GULF, as analysts view the SET Index has an upside limit. SCB also recommends mid- to small-cap stocks with prospects of high net profits in Q1 including START, TWPC, SISB, TNP and WICE.

Technical view: SCB Securities sees support at 1,560 points and resistance at 1,650. Tisco Securities sees support at 1,585 and resistance at 1,630.

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