The Thai stock market has moved lower in two of three trading days since the end of the two-day winning streak in which it had picked up more than 7 points or 0.5 percent. The Stock Exchange of Thailand now rests just beneath the 1,685-point plateau and it's likely to remain in that neighborhood again on Wednesday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is murky, with profit taking likely after recent gains - especially among the oil and technology companies. The European and U.S. markets were mixed and little changed and the Asian bourses are tipped to follow suit.
The SET finished barely lower on Tuesday following mixed performances from the financial shares and the energy producers.
For the day, the index eased 1.10 points or 0.07 percent to finish at 1,682.94 after trading between 1,682.58 and 1,693.97. Volume was 13.838 billion shares worth 56.587 billion baht. There were 866 decliners and 527 gainers, with 573 stocks finishing unchanged.
Among the actives, Advanced Info shed 0.50 percent, while Thailand Airport added 0.67 percent, Bangkok Bank collected 0.33 percent, Bangkok Dusit Medical retreated 1.67 percent, B. Grimm gained 0.60 percent, BTS Group climbed 1.16 percent, CP All Public improved 1.08 percent, Energy Absolute lost 0.56 percent, Gulf advanced 0.93 percent, Krung Thai Bank increased 0.56 percent, Krung Thai Card fell 0.44 percent, PTT Oil & Retail dropped 0.85 percent, PTT sank 0.74 percent, PTT Exploration and Production skidded 1.15 percent, PTT Global Chemical gathered 0.49 percent, SCG Packaging plummeted 3.17 percent, Siam Concrete declined 1.42 percent, Thai Oil perked 0.43 percent, True Corporation slumped 0.81 percent and TTB Bank, Asset World, Banpu, Bangkok Expressway, Charoen Pokphand Foods, Kasikornbank and Siam Commercial Bank were unchanged.
The lead from Wall Street offers little clarity as the major averages opened lower on Tuesday, rebounded somewhat and ended the day mixed and little changed.
The Dow gained 104.40 points or 0.31 percent to finish at 33,733.96, while the NASDAQ sank 30.14 points or 0.27 percent to end at 11,334.27 and the S&P 500 eased 2.86 points or 0.07 percent to close at 4,016.95.
The choppy trading on Wall Street came as traders expressed some uncertainty about the near-term outlook for the markets following recent volatility.
Uncertainty about the outlook for interest rates and the economy may also have kept some traders on the sidelines ahead of the release of some key economic data in the coming days.
A negative reaction to some of the latest earnings news contributed to an early pullback, with 3M (MMM) posting a steep loss after reporting weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings and providing disappointing guidance.
Crude oil prices fell sharply Tuesday on concerns about the outlook for demand due to a potential recession in Europe and the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures for March ended lower by $1.49 or 1.8 percent at $80.13 a barrel.
Closer to home, the central bank in Thailand will wrap up its monetary policy meeting later today and then announce its decision on interest rates. The central bank is widely expected to hike its benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points, from 1.25 percent to 1.50 percent.