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STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-HSBC overweight, says Thailand on 'cruise control'

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Thai equities trade at reasonable valuations, similar toAsia's average, and the best sectors to build exposure to arethose with structural growth, earnings resilience, domesticfocus and low valuations, HSBC said.

"Thailand runs on cruise control; growth is slowing, but notalarmingly so, and inflation is not a worry (yet)," HSBCstrategists said in a note after visiting Bangkok, and retainedtheir 'overweight' on Thai equities.

It said five stocks that should be the backbone of any Thaiequity portfolio were Bangkok Expressway , Total AccessCommunication , Kasikornbank , IndoramaVentures and Pruksa Real Estate .

The MSCI index for Thailand was trading at11.0 times earnings, in line with its historical average and ata similar multiple to the rest of Asia's 11.1 times, despite anearnings growth of 14.5 percent versus 10.2 percent for the restof Asia in 2012, HSBC said.

"MSCI Thailand has a strong correlation (0.59) with exports,but even a higher correlation (0.80) with private consumptionand private investment. This clearly signifies that domesticfactors are very important for Thai equities," it said.

The Thai benchmark SET index has risen 26 percent in2012, making it the best performing major market in Asia, andalso placing it among the world's top performers.

1531 (0831 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok;viparat.jantraprapaweth@thomsonreuters.com; Editing by PrateekChatterjee)

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12:10 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Strong cinema ads lift MajorCineplex

Shares in Thailand's biggest cinema operator, Major CineplexGroup Pcl MAJO.BK hit a five-month high, outperforming the mediasubindex, on the back of a strong cinema advertising spending,brokers said.

Major Cineplex shares were up 3.1 percent at 19.7 baht,climbing at one point to 19.8 baht, the highest since May 11.The media subindex .SETMP was up 0.46 percent while thebenchmark SET Index .SETI gained 0.4 percent.

Phillip Securities rated Major Cineplex a 'trading buy',with a target price of 21.3 baht, citing September cinema adsspending. The stock has risen 12.79 percent since September,outperforming a 8.5 percent gain of the media subindex.

"Growth in total ad spending is likely to accelerate in thefourth quarter of 2012, reflecting the impact of last year'ssevere floods, which caused a slowdown in ad spending," it said.

Total ad spending in Thailand rose 6.55 percent year on yearto 9.7 billion baht ($316.12 million) in September, with cinemaads and in-store media the top growth performers whilecarbonated soft beverage sector was a top spender, it said.

1156 (0456 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing byAnand Basu; viparat.jantraprapaweth@thomsonreuters.com)

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09:19 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-CIMB raises Tisco price targetafter strong Q3

CIMB Research raised its price target on Tisco FinancialGroup Pcl TISCO.BK to 55 baht from 38 baht, citing the financialfirm's strong third-quarter results and the broker's upgrades offull-year loan growth, non-interest income and net interestmargin.

Tisco shares closed unchanged at 48.5 baht on Thursday. Theyhave gained 27.6 percent in 2012, underperforming a 36.4 percentgain of the broader banking subindex .SETB.

Tisco, which reported earnings after market hours, posted a6 percent rise in third-quarter net profit at 953 million baht($31 million) and a nine-month net profit of 2.7 billion baht,up 5 percent.

The strong results were due to rapid loan growth, highnon-interest income and loan-related fees. For the companystatement, click (Full Story)

CIMB said it upgraded the stock to 'neutral' from'underperform'.

"While the stock could perform well due to continued solidresults in the next few quarters, we stop short of sounding tooupbeat as we remain wary of its medium-term earningsvisibility," the broker said in a report.

Other listed Thai banks are due to announce their thirdquarter results over the next two weeks.

0907 (0207 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok;viparat.jantraprapaweth@thomsonreuters.com; Editing by PrateekChatterjee)

($1 = 30.685 baht)

Keywords: MARKETS THAILAND STOCKSNEWS/HSBC