All major indices on Wall Street continued to stage a strong rally, against a backdrop of US President Trump’s promise of a phenomenal tax plan in the not-too-distant future. Dow Jones Industrial Average registered another historical high again in the uncharted territory by closing at 20,619.77 on 16 February, adding another 3.7 percent over the past two weeks. Similarly, both S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index marked out historical highs of 2,349.25 and 5,819.44 respectively after extending a seven-day winning streak. However, both indices ended their seven-day streak of record highs by dipping marginally in the trading session on 16 February. Specifically, S&P 500 closed at 2,347.22 with a net gain of 2.9 percent in the fortnight, while Nasdaq closed at 5,814.9 with an overall gain of 3.2 percent.
Over in Asia, Hang Seng Index led the pack by posting a 3.9 percent jump closing at 24,033.74, while Shanghai Composite Index gained 2 percent to close at 3,202.08. Nikkei 225, on the other hand, ended off the week by adding 1.7 percent to close at 19,234.62.
In the local scene, Singapore welcomed a record high of 16.4 million of visitors in year 2016, which grew by 7.7 percent buoyed by the growth of the China market and visitors. Accordingly to preliminary estimates by the Singapore Tourism Board, tourism receipts also rose by 13.9 percent to $24.8 billion. Meanwhile, in another report released by the Department of Statistics on 15 February, Singapore’s retail sales in December 2016 inched up 0.4 percent year-on-year, primarily due to higher sales of medical goods and toiletries.
Lifted by optimistic news from the west and positive economic data, Straits Times Index broke up above the 3,100 resistance to close at a high of 3,111.63 on 13 February. Unfortunately, it barely stays above the mark for more than two trading sessions as market got spooked with OCBC and DBS each reporting 18 percent and 9 percent fall in their quarterly earnings respectively. Amidst concerns on our local banks’ credit quality as well as some profit taking activities saw the STI pulling back and narrowing its gain to 2.2 percent closing at 3,107.65. On top of that, FTSE ST Catalist Index outperformed the general market by expanding 5.9 percent.
For the next two weeks, investors may want to keep an eye on the FOMC meeting minutes on 22 February as well as the US unemployment claims due to be released in the first week of March.