Weekly Market Recap – April 21, 2023
In Sudan, the latest escalation of combat between rival military factions led to heavy shelling of the capital city, Khartoum. At our press time, a news brief of U.S. special forces’ helicopter evacuation of American embassy staff stated that the operation was successful and that no shots were fired. The U.S. strategic petroleum reserve, managed by the Department of Energy, declined to 375.1 million barrels. The last time it was this low was December 1983. The most powerful rocket ever built, SpaceX’s Starship, exploded 2½ minutes after liftoff of its inaugural test. Elon Musk’s rocket program is part of his recently announced $2.9 billion contract with NASA.
Monthly economic statistics released during the week, compared with the prior month, were as follows: existing home sales 4.44 million vs. 4.55 million, housing starts 1.42 million vs. 1.43 million, building permits 1.41million vs. 1.55 million and leading economic indicators -1.2% vs. -0.5%. Weekly numbers showed initial jobless claims rose to 245,000 from 240,000 and continuing unemployment claims were 1.87 million vs. 1.80 million. There were no significant quarterly reports.
Stock indices eased as the DJIA ended the week at 33,808.96 (-0.2%), the S&P 500 finished at 4,133.52 (-0.1%), and the NASDAQ Composite closed at 12,072.46 (-0.4%). CBOE’s VIX retreated 1.8% with its 16.77 settlement. In currencies, USD Index futures gained 0.3%, with the June contract ending at 101.552 on Friday. Commodities in the S&P GSCI futures portfolio slipped 3.5%, lowering the index to 573.90 as the week ended.
Metals futures were mixed. In the contracts we monitor, closing prices and percentage movements were: gold at $1,990.50 per ounce (-1.3%), silver at $25.058 (-1.6%), platinum at $1,138.70 (+8.0%), palladium at $1,607.40 (+7.4%), copper at $3.9800 per pound (-3.1%) and aluminum at $2,396.50 per metric ton (+0.5%).
On the energy charts, futures contracts we watch booked losses for the week, except for NYMEX natural gas. That market remained strong, rising 5.6% to $2.233 per MMBtu. Settlement prices and percentage decreases for the other five markets we follow in this sector were: WTI crude at $77.29 per barrel (-6.3%), Brent crude at $81.66 (-5.4%), heating oil at $2.4886 per gallon (-5.7%), RBOB gasoline at $2.6016 (-8.3%) and ICE Dutch gas fell 2.4%, going out at €40.164 per MWh.
Of the nine agricultural futures that we monitor, three advanced, and six declined. The gainers were: sugar at 24.34¢ (+3.8%), cocoa at $2,983 (+3.0%), and live cattle at 164.525 (+0.5%). Moving into the red were: soybeans at $14.83½ (-1.1%), corn at $6.63¼ (-0.5%), wheat at $6.61¾ (-3.0%), coffee at $1.9145 (-0.03%), cotton at 80.15¢ (-3.4%) and lean hogs at 86.075 (-0.9%).
Futures Referenced in Market Recap
|ICE||Dutch TTF Gas||May|
|NYMEX||ULSD (Heating Oil)||May|
|LME||Aluminum||3 Mo. Forward|
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