The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) ended its record-setting 110 trading days without a decline of one percent or more on Tuesday 21 March, when it closed 238 points down at 20,668.01. The pull-back persisted, as DJIA continued to fall another 117 points notching an 8-day losing streak last seen only in August 2011. This shift in market sentiment came after House Republicans’ failure of the repeal of Obamacare last week, which cast doubts on Trump’s abilities to implement tax cuts and other fiscal policies as promised. Despite a 151-point rebound on 28 March, overall DJIA lost one percent to close at 20,728.49 in the fortnight. Likewise, S&P 500 retreated 0.6 percent while Nasdaq rose 0.2 percent to close at 2,368.06 and 5,914.34 respectively.
Over in Asia, political uncertainties in Hong Kong dissipated with former Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam elected as the New Chief Executive on 26 March, securing a victorious vote count of 777 votes. Hang Seng Index was mostly flat for the past two weeks dropping marginally by 0.8 percent to close at 24,111.59. Shanghai Composite Index, on the other hand, declined 0.5 percent to close at 3,222.51.
Japan’s export growth strengthened remarkably in February 2017 with the value of exports growing 11.3 percent year-on-year, marking the third month of expansion for outbound shipments after 15 months of contraction. Notwithstanding the positive news, Nikkei sank 3.1 percent to finish at 18,909.26 over the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Britain’s departure from the European Union was officially kicked off as President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, received a UK government letter signed by British Prime Minister Theresa May, formally stating the UK’s intention to withdraw from the trade bloc.
On the local scene, Singapore’s all-items consumer price index rose to 0.7 percent in February 2017 from 0.6 percent last month, according to a joint press release from Monetary Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore on 23 March. The rise also marked an increase for the third consecutive month since December last year. Looking at the performance of the equities market, Singapore’s Straits Times Index inched up 0.2 percent to close at 3,175.11 over the fortnight, after recovering from an initial fall in tandem with the US’s decline.
Looking forward, investors may wish to keep a lookout for US’s non-farm payrolls and unemployment data next week, as well as inflation and trade balance data in China the week after.