Weekly Market Recap – April 1, 2022
Russia increased attacks in Ukraine, despite ongoing peace talks, as the war entered its sixth week. U.S. COVID-19 deaths are now fewer than 800 per day, the lowest daily average since mid-August; the nation’s total death toll from the virus has surpassed 975,000. The FDA has authorized second booster shots for the millions of Americans who are over 50. Supply chain shortages persist as more than 22,000 dockworkers at West Coast ports are in prolonged contract negotiations.
The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that the trade deficit in February was -$106.6 billion vs. -$107.6 billion in January. Other monthly economic statistics compared with prior levels, were as follows: the Chicago purchasing managers index 62.9 vs. 56.3, nonfarm payrolls 431,000 vs. 750,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.6% vs. 3.8%. Home prices, as measured by the S&P Case Shiller index (on a year-over-year basis) were +19.2% vs. 18.9%. Construction spending was +0.5% vs. +1.6%, the consumer confidence index was 107.2 vs. 105.7. Nominal personal income came in at +0.5% vs. +0.1% and nominal consumer spending +0.2% vs. +2.7%. The revised quarterly GDP report for Q4 showed a 6.9% increase vs. the rise of 7.0% in Q3. Weekly initial jobless claims were 202,000 vs. 188,000.
Volatility in the stock market was lower than in recent weeks, as evidenced by the CBOE VIX, which closed at 19.63, down 5.7% from the previous Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average settled at 34,818.27 (-0.1%), the S&P 500 inched up 0.1%, ending at 4,545.86 at the close, and the NASDAQ Composite went out at 14,261.50 (+0.7%). In currencies, the USD Index ticked a bit lower for the week, closing at 98.63 (-0.2%). Commodity prices that comprise the portfolio of futures listed in the S&P GSCI, ended at 721.20 (-7.7%); the incremental decline was the result of weakness in metals and energy contracts.
Accordingly, the six metals futures that we report here moved to the downside. Settlements and corresponding percentage decreases were: gold at $1,923.70 (-1.8%), silver at $24.654 (-3.8%), platinum at $988.60 (-2.2%), palladium at $2,267.50 (-5.3%), copper at $4.6885 (-0.2%), and aluminum at $3,450.00 (-4.3%).
In energy futures, the petroleum sector staged a sell-off during the week, partly due to expectations that were fulfilled on Thursday, that President Biden would tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which will release up to 180 million barrels of oil. Settlements and their respective down-moves were: WTI crude at $99.27 per barrel (-12.8%), Brent crude at $107.91 (-10.6%), heating oil at $3.4240 per gallon (-8.7%), and RBOB gasoline at $3.1535 (-8.2%). In the natural gas sector, prices moved higher, largely attributed to weather demand and the fundamentals surrounding Russia’s prominence as Europe’s major gas supplier. NYMEX natgas moved up to $5.720 per mmBtu (+1.9%), and ICE Dutch TTF gas €112.150 per MwH (+9.3%).
For the agricultural markets that we monitor, the score was two higher and seven lower. End-of-week results were: soybeans at $15.82¾ (-7.5%), corn at $7.35 (-2.5%), wheat at $9.84½ (-10.7%), coffee at $2.2840 (+3.0%), sugar at 19.37¢ (-1.2%), cocoa at $2,599 (+1.4%), cotton at $134.55¢ (-1.0%), live cattle at 135.850 (-1.1%), and lean hogs at 120.450 (-4.3%).
Futures Referenced in Market Recap
|ICE||Dutch TTF Gas||April|
|NYMEX||ULSD (Heating Oil)||May|
|LME||Aluminum||3 Mo. Forward|
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