Thai shares rebound before holidays

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BANGKOK (April 10): Thai stocks eked out small gains on Friday on thin volume ahead of a long weekend, while most other Southeast Asian stock markets ended higher as investors built positions ahead of the start of a quarterly reporting season.

Thai SET index was up 0.2 percent on the day and 0.8 percent on the week, its second straight week. About 5.5 billion shares changed hands, less than half the 30-day average of 13.25 billion.

The market will be closed on April 13-15 for a Thai new year holiday.

Large caps ended the day in a mixed bag. Outperformers included shares of Siam Cement and Advanced Info Service, while Krung Thai Bank retreated from the gain on Thursday.

Banks will announce their January-March earnings late next week and will be among key market focus, brokers said.

Macquarie Research said in a report that a two-year downgrade cycle for market earnings estimates of Thai large caps listed on the SET 100 index could be approaching its bottom but downside risk remained.

The broker said it maintained its "underweight" call on Thailand.

"With a still weak economy, it is too early to expect any reversal in trend and we see risks are still tilted to the downside," it said in a report dated April 8.

Southeast Asian stock markets posted gains on the week, led by the Philippines' 1.7 percent.

Stocks in Singapore and Malaysia each posted a weekly gain of 0.5 percent, a fourth straight week. Indonesia rose 0.6 percent, a second week and Vietnam was up 1.1 percent after four weeks of losses.