Wall Street cheered as Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 21,115.55 on 1 March for the first time in history. This came after Trump’s sanguine speech to the Congress that lifted investors’ sentiments. To sum it up, DJIA advanced 1.9 percent for the fortnight closing at 21,002.97. Likewise, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index both gained 1.5 percent and 0.8 percent closing at record territories of 2,381.92 and 5,861.22 respectively.
Over in Asia, performances of major markets did not fare as well as their western counterparts. Hang Seng Index’s experienced a pullback after facing resistance at 24,000 by dipping 2 percent over last fortnight to close at 23,552.72. Meanwhile, Nikkei registered a 1.2 percent gain closing at 19,469.17, whereas the Shanghai Composite expanded 0.5 percent to end at 3,218.31.
On the local scene, Finance Minister Mr Heng Swee Keat’s delivery of Singapore Budget 2017 on 20 Feburary has attracted much attention among Singaporeans. Some of the highlights include a 30 percent water price increase over the next two years, support for households and young families through higher CPF Housing grant, as well as assistance for companies and workers with a 20 percent personal income tax rebate and training programmes initiatives. In addition, figures released from the Department of Statistics on 23 February revealed that Singapore’s consumer price index had risen to 0.6 percent in January 2017 from 0.2 percent the previous month, increasing for the second straight month underpinned by stabilising oil prices.
Buoyed by the positive spillover sentiment from the Wall Street, Singapore’s Straits Times Index stood firm above the 3,100 level. The local blue-chip benchmark finished the fortnight closing at 3,122.34, posting a 0.5 percent climb. However, growth is only witnessed in the FTSE ST Large/Mid Cap Index with a 0.7 percent increase, while FTSE ST Small Cap Index and FTSE ST Catalist Index contracted 0.8 percent and 2.7 percent respectively.
Looking forward, major events that may move the market in the next couple of weeks include the upcoming FOMC meetings which are scheduled to be held on the 14 and 15 March 2017.