Markets seemed to bobble, lacking a clear trend in either direction over the last two weeks. The Fed’s latest meeting found policymakers divided over the timing to unwind their massive balance sheet. Over the fortnight, Wall Street’s benchmark Dow Jones Index slid 0.4 percent to close at 21,320.04.
Meanwhile oil prices brought their eight-day rally to an end tumbling more than four percent on 5 July. This came after news that Russia ruled out proposals to deepen production cuts. US West Texas Intermediate crude fell US$1.82 to settle at US$45.13 a barrel.
Performances were mixed in the Asian region. Last fortnight, Nikkei and Hang Seng Index sank one percent and 1.3 percent to close at 19,929.09 and 25,340.85 respectively. On the other hand, Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.9 percent to close at 3,217.96.
On local soil, M&A activities griped investors’ attention with the potential acquisition of Croesus Retail Trust. Apart from that, Singapore’s equities market welcomed the listing of Singtel’s spinoff NetLink Trust, which is expected to commence trading from 3pm on 19 July. Looking to raise between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion, this long-awaited deal will be the largest IPO offered this year. Key barometer Straits Times Index remained trapped within its 3,200 – 3,270 trading range in the last couple of weeks, closing at 3,229.01 to register a gain of 0.6 percent.
Singapore’s manufacturing PMI in June inched up to 50.9 from 50.8 in the previous month, recording the tenth consecutive month of expansion. Nevertheless, the electronics sub-sector which has been the main driver of growth has started to ease off. Electronics PMI dipped from 52.4 to 52.1 dragged down by declines in new orders, new exports, factory output, inventory level and employment.
Looking forward, 2Q17 reporting season is just around the corner. Hopeful investors will be hoping for better-than-expected earnings to boost the lackluster market.