US indices surged over 1.5% last night following President Donald Trump’s speech to Congress, in which he painted a bright picture of the country’s economic outlook and pledged to pump US$ 1 trillion into infrastructure, and to reduce the tax burden on US corporations and the middle class. 

As a result, financials (+2.8%), energy (+2.0%), materials (+1.8%) and industrials (1.6%) were among the leading sectors in the US market last night. ‘Risk-on’ sentiment had already spread over to Asian markets yesterday, and looks likely to continue today. 

As his speech provided an optimistic outlook of the jobs market and inflation, the probability of an interest rate hike in March soared to a record high of 80%. This morning the dollar index climbed to the 101.80 area, nearly a one-month high. Safe-haven assets including gold, treasuries and the Japanese yen were under pressure. 

Singapore’s equity market rebounded sharply for a second consecutive day after four days’ of consolidation. The rally was mainly driven by oil and gas names such as Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Corp as their earnings showed the sector has probably turned around, with oil prices almost double where they were this time last year. 

Some of the key points of Donald Trump’s speech were as follows:

  • Rebuild infrastructure by pumping in 1 trillion USD through public and private capital (steel, copper, cement, inflation, the Fed, dollar).
  • Tax reform: reduce tax rate on US corporations and the middle class, and make it more difficult for companies to leave the US (SPX, Dow).
  • Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
  • Strongly support NATO but alliances must ‘pay their fair share’ of military operations.
  • Immigration reform: build a ‘wall’ across the southern boarder, improve security, jobs and wages for Americans (again, inflation, the Fed).
  • Support free trade, but this must be ‘fair trade’. The US trade deficit was addressed, of which nearly half arises from trade with China.  
  • Renewal of the American spirit, and America is once again ready to lead (renewed optimism in business and consumer confidence).

Sembcorp Marine (weekly chart)

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