Global markets dipped slightly weighed down by intensifying geopolitical tensions following US’s missile strikes in Syria as well as deployment of US aircraft carrier to the Korean Peninsular. Nevertheless, the uneasiness was somewhat relieved by the amicable meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US President Trump, with both parties indicating no intentions to start a trade war and will instead engage in a 100-day trade negotiation. For the fortnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7 percent to close at 20,591.86 while the S&P 500 dropped one percent to close at 2,344.93.
Oil and gold prices rose significantly as WTI crude oil and Brent Crude Oil returned to levels above US$50 per barrel while spot gold edged up to US$1,274 per ounce on 12 April – a level last seen only in November 2010. On the other hand, Nikkei slid 2.6 percent to close at 18,426.84 in tandem with its US counterpart’s decline. Nonetheless, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.6 percent to close at 24,261.66.
Looking at China, Chinese government announced the relocation of Beijing’s non-capital functions to a new Special Economic Zone, Xiongan New Area, to reduce congestion in the capital city. Consequently, this sparked off speculative interest in properties, as well as construction and infrastructure companies in that area. Correspondingly, Shanghai Composite Index rose 1.7 percent to close at 3,275.96.
On the local front, Singapore Exchange welcomed UnUsUal Limited’s (Unusual) initial public offering (IPO) on 10 April. Unusual saw its share price more than doubled on its first trading day by closing at $0.435, a 117.5 percent gain from its IPO price of $0.20 per share. Unusual’s strong debut came after local coffeeshop operator Kimly last month, which too saw its share price surging 76 percent above its IPO price of $0.25 on its first day. Such impressive performances indicate that quality IPOs are still able to garner strong support among local investors despite a rather cautious sentiment. At the close of the fortnight, the Straits Times Index contracted 0.2 percent to close at 3,169.24.
Looking forward, investors may want to pay closer attention to how the heightening geopolitical tensions may turn out, as well as the results of the French presidential election nearer to the end of the month on 23 April.