YTD Best Performing Bourses

Surprise, surprise... the following were the best performing bourses from 1st January 2006 till end of February 2006:

1) Shanghai Composite +11.8%
2) Frankfurt DAX +7.2%
3) HK Hang Seng +7.0%
4) Paris CAC +6.1%
5) Jakarta Composite +5.9%
6) Singapore STI +5.7%
7) Thailand SET +4.2%
8) Nasdaq +3.4%
9) KLCI +3.2%
10) London FTSE +3.1%
11) Dow Jones +2.6%
12) S&P 500 +2.6%
13) Philippines Comp. +1.6%
14) Nikkei 225 +0.6%
15) Taiwan Weighted +0.2%
16) Korean Kospi -0.6%

Since the beginning of March 2006, Singapore and Frankfurt bourses have continued to make further headway. The poorer performance by US bourses was largely due to uncertainty over Federal Reserve hiking rates further, and manufested in very high levels of insider selling. Insider is defined as listed company officers, directors and senior management. A monthly survey by Thomson Financial showed that insider selling totaled an astounding US$6.1 billion in February 2006, which was the highest level of monthly selling by insiders since the US$9.1 billion record in February 2000. Some of you may remember that the February 2000 was the period just before the bursting of the dot-com bubble, so it was prescient of the insiders. Selling by insiders in February 2006 was highest in technology related stocks (maybe knee jerk reactions from those fearing the very volatile movements in Google - which can move tech-stocks as a group like a yo-yo). However, there has been insider buying also for US regional banks, real estate and trusts. While the February figure is worrisome, it needs further confirmation. If the March figure is just as bad, things can get very nasty in the US.