Weekly Market Recap – December 14th, 2018
In the Markets
Initial steps were taken in the U.S-China trade negotiations, as the 90-day ceasefire began with substantial, albeit still temporary, moves from the People’s Republic. Chinese officials hinted at tweaks to the “Made in China 2025” policy by allowing further access and fairer competition for foreign companies. Furthermore, China announced plans to aquire more U.S. agricultural products, including soybeans, while also lowering the Chinese tariff on U.S. car imports from 40% to 15% during the 90-day period. While these steps are notable, it remains to be seen if they have staying power as a long-lasting resolution to the trade conflicts.
Despite progress in global trade, as well as positive indicators in the form of a higher than expected increase in U.S. retail sales, equities still slid lower on the week. The Dow Jones fell 1.2%, the S&P 500 fell 1.3%, and the NASDAQ dropped 0.8%. There were many sources of caution abroad, including weaker than expected industrial production and retail sales in China. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi echoed this caution with regards to the European economic outlook, announcing a trim to growth forecasts. Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote, while France continued to experience the “Yellow Vest” protests against increasing living costs and President Macron’s economic policies.
After a prolonged bullish streak, natural gas futures came plunging back to earth, falling 14.73% on the week due to warm weather forecasts. Crude oil futures also fell, with WTI down 2.68% and Brent futures falling 2.38% on the week.
Soybeans fell 1.77% despite news of increased purchasing by China, while corn and wheat finished almost flat, down just 0.19% and 0.24% respectively.
Dollar Index futures climbed 0.72, as all eyes will be on the Fed meeting taking place on Wednesday, December 19th, as markets await a potential fourth interest rate hike.
World Cup Trading Championships
As we approach the final 10 trading days of the year, Petra Ilona Zacek still sits firmly atop the leaderboard, finishing last week with a net return of 226.2%. The battle for second was a contentious affair, with Ryan Alderson finishing the week ahead of the rest of the pack with a net return of 68.5%, followed by Fabian Fischer in 3rd with a net return of 62.5%. Less than 20% separates 2nd place from 5th place, as Adrian Koemel sits in 4th with a net return of 57.3, and Archi Ma rounds out the top 5 at 51%..
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