Thai Stocks Rise to 18-Year High as Locals Buy: Bangkok Mover

Thai stocks surged, driving the benchmark index to its highest level since November 1994, as data showed domestic investors bought equities for a fourth day.

The SET Index climbed 1.7 percent to 1,514.11 at the close in Bangkok. The gauge’s 30-day volatility rose to 11.1, the highest since Aug. 23. PTT Pcl rose 4 percent, the most since November 2011, as crude oil traded near a one-week high. Bangkok Bank Pcl jumped 3.4 percent, the biggest increase since Jan. 28.

Local institutional investors purchased 928.8 million baht ($31.2 million) of stock yesterday, taking net purchases this month to 6.7 billion baht. Sentiment was boosted today by gains in regional markets as Singapore and Malaysia resumed trading after Lunar New Year holidays, BBL Asset Management Co.’s Voravan Tarapoom said.

“Investors continue to show optimism,” said Voravan, chief executive officer at BBL Asset, which oversees more than $7.5 billion. “There is also a significant inflow of money into equity funds from domestic investors.”

Some 72 billion baht of shares traded on the Thai bourse today, the highest turnover since Jan. 10 and 64 percent more than the three-month daily average, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Local investors bought stocks yesterday even as foreign funds sold a net 1.87 billion baht, exchange data show. The sixth day of outflows brought total foreign sales in February to 11.9 billion baht.

Thai shares advanced as the Philippine Stock Exchange Index climbed 1.1 percent to a record. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index gained 0.4 percent, the biggest advance since Jan. 3, and Singapore’s Straits Times Index advanced 0.9 percent to the highest close since November 2010.

Thailand’s SET Index has gained 8.8 percent this year, extending a 36 percent rally in 2012, as domestic investment and consumption recovered from floods in 2011 that were the worst in almost seven decades. The government has increased minimum wages and offered tax incentives for automobile purchases to boost growth.

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