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Finance: Bullish biotech breaks previous highs

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Finance: Bullish biotech breaks previous highs | The Thaiger

PHUKET: As of early June, the US S&P 500, Nasdaq and the Dow are all at critical turning points because after a two-year long correction, the market is tightly compressed and sitting only a few points from a new all-time high – or making new highs such as with the Dow and S&P500.

The big picture is this: The last two years has seen a nasty correction for many small cap stocks; but the S&P 500 is starting to show a very bullish bottoming formation as it hit a new high last summer. The S&P 500 then experienced a correction before bouncing back up to a new (but lower) high, then fell back down again to a new lower low. The index later rallied to a new lower high before May’s 3-4 per cent correction and its now testing its previous highs.

This has been a very strange market for the S&P 500, because it has repeatedly come close to the previous all-time high, which it needs to clear and see follow-through to the upside, only to roll over again. However, if the S&P 500 can break decisively above those previous highs around the 2,100 level, it should move up to the 2,300 to 2,400 level (basically, add the difference between the previous lower lows and lower highs to the current index level).

Here is also something else I have noticed about the markets lately: one sector or market will be weak one week and then strong during another week with the strength rotating around between sectors or markets, but the ultimate trend is both positive and up. I am under invested and will be using weakness (all bull markets give entry points or pullbacks) in the weeks ahead to enter strong sectors and stocks. As the market moves higher the strong sectors and leadership stocks are coming to the surface. This is where you need to be invested.

For example, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were flat during the first week of June, the PHLX Gold/Silver Sector (INDEXNASDAQ: XAU) was up 12 per cent while the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NASDAQ: TLT) was up 3 per cent. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF (NYSEARCA: EEM) was also surprisingly strong after being weak some weeks ago when the S&P 500 was performing well.

With that in mind, here is a quick summary of what is occurring with some other key market indices or sectors that I am also watching for clues.

The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (NYSEARCA: XBI) is now a confirmed bullish play as it broke above some previous highs in the first week of June. I’d like to see it hold its current zone and break higher before putting more money into biotech. LGND is a biotech stock that I like and will be buying if the market holds up.

The iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF (NASDAQ: SOXX) has cleared December and April highs. This is particularly bullish as we need semiconductors to lead so that tech stocks along with the S&P 500 and tech-laden Nasdaq can also move higher.

The Russell 2000 (INDEXRUSSELL: RUT) was up 1 per cent in the first week of June and has broken above a couple of previous highs. This tells me that money is starting to flow back into riskier small-cap growth stocks.

The S&P Mid Cap 400 Index (INDEXNYSEGIS: MID) also moved up 0.5 per cent and is above some previous highs. If MID ends up rolling over and breaking below a previous 2-3 per cent correction from a month ago I’ll be raising cash again in client portfolios. So far it is breaking upward to new highs and shows promise. This is a good sector in which to invest.

The NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:IXIC) ended the week poised to break above its most recent high and then (eventually) take out its higher December 2015 high.

Finally, investors need to keep in mind that there is considerable uncertainty over what the Fed will do with interest rates. Regardless of whether you think it’s right or wrong or whether it will all end badly, global central banks are still the driving force of the markets and can still drive them higher.

Don Freeman, BSME, is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Advisor with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket. He has over 15 years experience working with expatriates, specializing in portfolio management, US tax preparation, financial planning and UK pension transfers. Call for a free portfolio review. Don can be reached at 089-970 5795 or email at freemancapital@gmail.com.

— Don Freeman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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