SINGAPORE: The Straits Times Index (STI) closed the Lunar Year of the Horse on a positive note at 3435.66 points on Wednesday (Feb 18), up by 0.6 per cent following a half-day trading session.

The STI has been trotting steadily since Feb 1, 2014, which was the start of the Year of the Horse. It managed to pull back from early steep losses, staying on a mostly upward trend thereafter. All in, until Feb 18, 2015 – the last day of the year on the lunar calendar, it booked a gain of 13.5 per cent.

According to numbers from Bloomberg, top performing stocks in the Year of the Horse included transport operator ComfortDelgro, Olam and CapitaLand. At the other end, counters with the worst showing were SembCorp Marine, Genting Singapore and SembCorp Industries.

Looking ahead, DMG & Partners Securities said it is optimistic about the market outlook as continued growth in the US economy could help to mitigate downside risks arising from the Eurozone.

DMG added that the sectors that could see some upside in the Year of the Goat are property as well as oil and gas, taking into account a potential easing of property cooling measures and further recovery in global oil prices.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Singapore Exchange drew similarities between the recent STI sector performance and Singapore’s GDP growth. The country’s economy grew 2.9 per cent in 2014, supported by growth in the finance and insurance, and information and communications sectors.

Coincidentally, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) said the STI’s best performing sectors in the second half of 2014 and 2015 so far, were financials and telecommunication services.

According to SGX, STI’s 10 financials stocks have averaged a 2.3 per cent gain in the year thus far, taking the average performance of the stocks to 10 per cent since mid-2014. There was also a 5.8 per cent gain for the two STI’s telecommunications services stocks in 2015 so far and their average performance was put at 11.9 per cent since mid-2014.