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Market Commentary: Data help US market end week on a high note

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·           Wall Street wrapped up a record setting week with solid gains on the back of strong US economic data.

·           The Dow climbed 190.6 points, or 0.7%, to close at 27,930.33. The S&P 500 climbed 0.3% to end the day at 3,397.16, another closing record. Apple was the benchmark’s biggest gainer, surging 5.2% ahead of its 4-for-1 stock split on Monday. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4% to 11,311.80, also a record close.

·           Data from IHS Markit showed US manufacturing activity hit its highest level in 19 months in August, while services were at their highest level in 17 months. Meanwhile, existing home sales for July saw a record month-over-month spike of 24.7%. The average selling price for homes also hit an all-time high, jumping to US$304,100.

·           Governments around the world continue to tread a fine line between easing lockdowns to revive growth and controlling any resurgence of virus cases. The pandemic passed two global milestones: 800,000 deaths and 23 million cases. US infections showed signs of stabilisation, but concern is growing in Europe and parts of Asia.

·           More clarity will no doubt be sought via this week’s Jackson Hole Symposium about the Fed’s long-awaited monetary policy framework review. The Fed’s annual Economic Policy Symposium — typically held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming — is set for 27-28 Aug via livestream.

·           Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s takes the virtual stage on Thursday to speak; Investors will be looking for signs that the Fed is exploring additional ways to support the global economy should a stimulus package fail in Congress.

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