By The Nation
The SET Index fell by 16.61 points or 1.04 per cent to 1,579.66 on Monday.
Chanchai Pantathanakij, a research analyst at Asia Plus Securities, said the SET was in negative territory due to mass sell-offs in response to a new wave of Covid-19 infections at entertainment venues in Bangkok.
Investors had also sold stocks to cut risks over the Songkran holiday, he added.
"However, we expect these factors will only add short-term pressure to the index as the government will not impose a nationwide lockdown to deal with new Covid-19 outbreak," Chanchai said.
"Meanwhile, investors would pay attention to SET-listed companies' performance in the first quarter of this year after the Songkran holiday."
Chanchai forecast the SET would fluctuate between 1,530 and 1,644 points in April.
Chaiyaporn Nompitakcharoen, executive vice president at Bualuang Securities, predicts a narrower range of 1,550-1,600 points in April, advising investors to buy shares during this time.
"Even though the SET will have limited upside room after Songkran, we expect the index to hit 1,700 points in the second half this year," he said.
Sorrabhol Virameteekul, senior vice-president at Kasikorn Securities, said a tight valuation and uncertainty over Covid-19 vaccination in Thailand are also pressuring the index.
"Thailand's vaccination rate is relatively low, making it more vulnerable to a new Covid-19 wave compared to other countries," Sorrabhol said.
Supongvorn Mianpoka, head of global investment at Tisco Asset Management, expects SET to lose 50-80 points due to the new Covid-19 wave.
However he predicts a rise to 1,650 points if the government is able to deliver Covid-19 vaccines and reopen the country to foreign tourists as planned, starting with Phuket on July 1.
"The Thai stock market is expected to fall by 5 per cent in the second quarter this year, so this is an opportunity for investors to buy shares in large companies that will benefit from the country reopening and the economic recovery," he said.
Supongvorn added that fund managers have started to add large-cap stocks to their portfolios.
"We advise buying shares related to finance, petrochemicals, food and beverages, commerce, energy and public utilities," he added.