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

Thai equities trade at reasonable valuations, similar to Asia's average, and the best sectors to build exposure to are those with structural growth, earnings resilience, domestic focus and low valuations, HSBC said.

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

It said five stocks that should be the backbone of any Thai equity portfolio were Bangkok Expressway , Total Access Communication , Kasikornbank , Indorama Ventures and Pruksa Real Estate .

The MSCI index for Thailand was trading at 11.0 times earnings, in line with its historical average and at a similar multiple to the rest of Asia's 11.1 times, despite an earnings growth of 14.5 percent versus 10.2 percent for the rest of Asia in 2012, HSBC said.

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

The Thai benchmark SET index has risen 26 percent in 2012, making it the best performing major market in Asia, and also placing it among the world's top performers.

1531 (0831 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok;; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)


12:10 STOCKS NEWS THAILAND-Strong cinema ads lift Major Cineplex

Shares in Thailand's biggest cinema operator, Major Cineplex Group Pcl MAJO.BK hit a five-month high, outperforming the media subindex, 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 the benchmark 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 ads spending. 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 the fourth quarter of 2012, reflecting the impact of last year's severe floods, which caused a slowdown in ad spending," it said.

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

1156 (0456 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by Anand Basu;


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

CIMB Research raised its price target on Tisco Financial Group Pcl TISCO.BK to 55 baht from 38 baht, citing the financial firm's strong third-quarter results and the broker's upgrades of full-year loan growth, non-interest income and net interest margin.

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

Tisco, which reported earnings after market hours, posted a 6 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, high non-interest income and loan-related fees. For the company statement, click (Full Story)

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

"While the stock could perform well due to continued solid results in the next few quarters, we stop short of sounding too upbeat as we remain wary of its medium-term earnings visibility," the broker said in a report.

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

0907 (0207 GMT)

(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok;; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)

($1 = 30.685 baht)