Tech shares lead US rally after Fed reassurances

Recap: US tech shares led a Wall Street rally after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell assured that inflation was not a worry. European stocks were subdued yesterday while most Asian markets retreated as traders looked ahead to a much-anticipated earnings reporting season.

The SET index moved in a range of 1,552.18 and 1,601.24 points this week before closing yesterday at 1,566.34, down 1.87% from the previous week, in daily turnover averaging 88.97 billion baht for four operating days.

Retail investors were net buyers of 6.55 billion baht and foreign investors bought 2.09 billion baht. Institutional investors were net sellers of 6.29 billion and brokerage firms offloaded 2.34 billion baht worth of shares.

Newsmakers: The IMF and the United States have thrown their support behind an international campaign to raise taxes on wealthy firms that have done well during the pandemic in order to finance recovery efforts. A broader drive for a global minimum tax rate on corporations that is also gathering momentum.

US President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order on climate disclosure that could shift investments, says his climate envoy, John Kerry. US regulators are also proposing that companies disclose more to shareholders about how climate change affects their business.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally signed legislation allowing him to hold office for two additional six-year terms, opening the possibility for him to stay in power until 2036.

Singapore will next month accept visitors who use a mobile travel pass containing digital certificates for Covid tests and vaccines, its aviation regulator said on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to adopt the initiative.

Global petrol consumption fell 11% last year, marking the beginning of a historical shift after more than a century of continuous demand growth. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is now predicting that we will probably never see pre-Covid levels of petrol use again.

The effort to create the first labor union at Amazon appeared headed for defeat, with votes against the move far outstripping those in favor when counting of ballots was paused late Thursday.

Tesla Inc said it delivered a record number of vehicles in the first quarter in the face of growing electric-car competition and supply-chain challenges that have hit the global auto industry.

The South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics on Wednesday flagged a 44.2% rise in first-quarter operating profit, largely driven by robust sales of smartphones and the launch of its flagship Galaxy S21 series.

Gold prices were poised for their first weekly gain in three weeks, hovering above $1,750 an ounce as weakness in the dollar and Treasury yields offered support.

The new Covid-19 outbreak, and the threat posed by a much more contagious variant of the virus, has spoiled the Songkran mood and dampened hopes for the economic recovery. The Bank of Thailand said GDP growth might be below its full-year forecast of 3%.

All bars, pubs and clubs have been ordered shut in Bangkok and 40 other provinces for at least two weeks from Friday, to curb the rapid spread of the virulent Thong Lor Covid cluster.

Private hospitals can buy 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, in addition to the government’s purchases, to help create herd immunity, a senior spokesman said on Friday.

Consumer spending is expected to decline by up to 50 billion baht a month as a result of the new Covid wave, which could cause a further drop in the Consumer Confidence Index over the next three months, says the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).

The Bank of Thailand believed a spike in long-term government bond yields had only a limited impact on the economy when it decided to keep its key interest rate at a record low last month, minutes of its last policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

The government is considering the establishment of a Southern Border Economic Corridor to improve development prospects for the three restive southernmost provinces and parts of Songkhla.

The Board of Investment (BoI) approved tax incentives for biotechnology projects worth 2.4 billion baht in the first quarter, aiming to use advanced technology to drive the national economy.

The consumer price index (CPI), a gauge of headline inflation, shrank 0.08% year-on-year in March, the lowest contraction rate in 13 months, following the rise of global oil prices and gradual economic recovery.

The use of electronic money has grown as more consumers embrace digital technology and because of pandemic-era social distancing, the Bank of Thailand says. E-money transactions last year totalled 310 billion baht, up from 276 billion in 2019, with non-bank companies accounting for 88% of top-up value.

The Thai National Shippers’ Council is maintaining its forecast of 3-4% export growth this year, though the traffic slowdown at the Suez Canal and political unrest in Myanmar are threatening to affect some shipments.

The Finance Ministry says it does not have any plans to divest its shares in PTT Oil and Retail Business (OR), citing the impressive capital gains in the newly SET-listed firm.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning investors that Binance, an international cryptocurrency exchange based in Malta that accepts Thai baht deposits, is illegal in Thailand, and has called on the company to open a dialogue with the regulator.

The Administrative Court has agreed to consider a petition lodged by consumer groups over the Trade Competition Commission’s decision to approve the $10.4-billion acquisition of Tesco operations in Thailand by the Charoen Pokphand Group.

Bangkok Airways expects it will not return to profit until 2024, though it sees investment opportunities in maintenance, repair and overhaul services in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

Coming up: The International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings will be held on Sunday. The euro zone will release February retail sales on Monday.

The US will release March federal budget figures on Tuesday, and Australia and New Zealand will release first-quarter business confidence. The same day will bring US March inflation data and an Opec monthly report, while the euro zone and Germany will release April economic sentiment.

New Zealand will announce an interest rate decision on Wednesday, and Australia will announce April consumer sentiment. Australia will release March employment figures on Thursday, Germany will release March inflation data and the US will release March retail figures.

The euro zone will release March inflation data on Friday, and the US will release March building permits.

Stocks to watch: UOB Kay Hian Securities recommends a higher weighting for stocks that could benefit from government measures to improve liquidity for the property and hotel sector. Its picks are are BBL, SCB and TISCO.

The brokerage also recommends stocks expected to report good first-quarter performance including SCC, BANPU, SUPER, TVO, PTT, FTREIT and WHART. Firms that will gain from increasing demand for Covid-19 insurance are THRE, TIP and TQM.

KTBST Securities believes that if infections decrease, the SET Index will rise immediately. Companies with high potential for growth this year include SCGP, BGRIM and KTC.

Technical view: Capital Nomura Securities sees support at 1,543 points and resistance at 1,604. DBS Vickers sees support at 1,530 and resistance at 1,580.

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