(Corrects analyst's name in third paragraph)
Kim Eng Securities (Thailand) Pcl led shares of Thai brokerages higher on optimism improved politics will boost investor confidence in equity trading.
Kim Eng, the nation's largest publicly traded brokerage, surged 3.20 baht, or 17 percent, to 21.90 at the 12:30 p.m. break in Bangkok. Phatra Securities Pcl, the second-biggest, jumped 4.25 baht, or 10 percent, to 45. Asia Plus Securities Pcl (ASP), Thailand's No. 3, climbed 0.24 baht, or 7.7 percent, to 3.36.
``We think the direction of the market is going to be better,'' said Suwat Bumrungchatudom, an analyst at Bualuang Securities Pcl, a unit of Thailand's biggest bank, in Bangkok. ``For second half of the year we think brokers will have higher daily trading than the first half.''
A military-appointed court on May 30 decided not to ban all key political leaders from running for office, helping pave the way for an election later this year and the country's return to democracy. The Democrat Party, the country's second-biggest political party, was cleared of breaking election laws.
The Constitutional Tribunal banned ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and 110 officials of his Thai Rak Thai party from politics for five years.
``The rising stock market indicates improving investor confidence after the court ruling,'' Finance Minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn said. ``A clearer political picture will help boost consumer and business confidence.''
The measure that tracks brokerages advanced 4.8 percent, the biggest mover within the 464-member SET (SET) Index. The SET gained 1.6 percent to 748.81, highest in more than 12 months.
About 20 billion baht ($579 million) in shares changed hands at the exchange, about 75 percent more than the daily average in the past three months.
An improvement in investment sentiment will also help encourage companies to proceed with initial public offerings on the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Suwat said. ``Brokers are a good bet,'' he said. ``Six months from now volume will be higher with IPOs and good sentiment from the political front.''
Among other brokers, Capital Nomura Securities Pcl (CNS) rose 4 baht, or 11 percent, to 42. KGI Securities (Thailand) Pcl gained 0.12 baht, or 7.5 percent, to 1.72.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dominic G. Diongson in Bangkok at email@example.com