Announcing the First Weekly Market Recap – April 27th, 2018
In the Markets
To begin 2018, the bullish run of 2017 remained as stocks continued to rise in historic fashion while volatility remained low. Fast forward to February, and the landscape changed dramatically. Volatility returned to the market with a vengeance, and while it has fallen since the spike on February 6th, it has remained well above the stable trend set in 2017. This comes as no surprise, as traders have had a copious amount of newsworthy events to react to.
One of the biggest stories of 2018 has been the tariffs. With 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum through an executive order by President Trump, the initial tariffs went into effect in March. These quickly faded into the background, however, as further tariffs were threatened against China. China responded with similar posturing, as rumors of a trade war dominated the airways pending negotiations.
Following this trend, tensions grew over the last three weeks in the Middle East. An allied airstrike by the US, UK, and France was carried out against suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria on April 7th in response to alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. With Russia positioning on the opposite side of the Syrian conflict, the world has watched with baited breath for the Kremlin’s response. International affairs took a positive turn this last week, with North and South Korean leaders meeting for the first time, beginning to build bridges of peace across the 38th parallel.
World Cup Trading Championships
With recent volatility, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 1.7% on the year as of April 27th, while the S&P has dropped 0.1%. The tech heavy NASDAQ, however, has managed to navigate 2018 on the way to a 3.1% year to date growth.
In commodities last month, crude oil continued to climb, reaching its highest level since November 2014. Both Brent and WTI crude futures remained around the $70 mark last week. The dollar posted a strong week, up 1.4% since April 20th, while lumber again climbed to a new record high.
For many, market conditions in 2018 are a welcomed change to 2017’s record low volatility. We at Robbins Trading Company have hosted the 35th consecutive ultimate trading challenge, giving professional traders the opportunity to showcase their talents in real time with real money. While some may see the profits as reward enough in themselves, those who have committed to trading as their career have flocked to the WCTC as a means of gaining notoriety and recognition for their efforts, along with the potential of joining our World Cup Advisor team.
In the 2018 competition, a clear frontrunner and favorite has emerged in Paul Skarp of the United States. In a stunning flurry of trades, Paul posted haymaker trade after haymaker trade to open the year. From the first day of tracking on February 20th, Skarp took over the pole position, and has not relinquished it once over 48 trading days. Skarp has dealt with his own internal volatility, experiencing peaks and valleys like any trader, but still managed to close last week at 213.7%, more than enough to maintain his lead.
The next trader to take center stage on our leaderboard was the United States’ Allen Swiontek. On February 22nd he exploded into the top 5, taking only one more day to secure second place on February 23rd. He held onto that second place position from February 23rd through April 11th, posting a year high net return of 158.94% on April 5th. Swiontek also has been the closest to surpassing Skarp’s, coming within 38% of first place on April 6th. Since his peak, Swiontek has dropped in April, ending April 27th at 44.32%, holding onto third place.
The last member of the top 3, who has joined the two Americans at the top of the leader board, is Jan Smolen of Slovakia. Smolen first broke into the top 5 on March 1st, reaching 51.51%. For the next month and a half he remained in the top 5, bouncing back and forth between 3rd and 4th place, until finally, on April 13th, he broke the century mark for the first time all year, souring to 113.93% net return, passing Swiontek to finish in 2nd. Since then Smolen has continued to climb, reaching his year high of 143.1% on April 27th, closing the gap between himself and Skarp to 70.6%, its second lowest mark to date.
Another big story this year has not just been Paul Skarp’s lead over each other individual trader, but his besting of the field as a whole. The lead was so staggering through February that I began tracking Skarp’s performance against “the Field” (2nd-5th combined), and through April 3rd Skarp’s returns surpassed the Field’s on 29 out of 30 trade days. Since then, however, the Field has caught up and maintained a slight edge over Skarp, closing the week at 271.84%.
Every single trade day in the months of March and April have featured Skarp, Swiontek, and Smolen in the top 5, with 18 of those days holding them in the top 3. The other two positions in that time span, however, have shuffled between 9 different traders. To close last week, those two members were Jonathan Brum da Silva making his 23rd appearance at 42.96% and 2016 WCTC Futures champion Artur Tereglov, who broke into the top 5 for the first time this week, closing trading in 5th place with a net return of 41.46%.
The other competitors who have reached the top 5 this year, in order of days spent on the leaderboard, Leonid Trubenkov (16), Kurt Sakaeda (16), Takumaru Sakakibara (15), Andrei Balansescu (15), Thomas Thurzo (10), Graeme Adams (7), and Petra Ilona Zacek (1). As they fight to break back into the top 5, those on our leaderboard will seek to maintain their dominance over the field, as the traders seek the coveted title of World Cup Trading Champion.
Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. World Cup Championship (WCC ) accounts do not necessarily represent all the trading accounts controlled by a given competitor. WCC competitors may control accounts that produce results substantially different than the results achieved in their WCC accounts. WCC entrants may trade more than one account in the competition.