Weekly Market Recap – April 30, 2021
Economic statistics, compared to their prior levels, were as follows: durable goods orders for March were up 0.5% vs. February’s 0.9% drop, March core capital goods orders were 0.9% higher, an improvement over the previous month’s decrease of 0.8%, the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for February gained 12.0% (year-over-year), compared with the 11.2% rise in January, gross domestic product for Q1 climbed 6.4%, higher than the previous 4.3% advance, the 553,000 initial jobless claims submitted were fewer than the previous week’s 566,000, personal income for March soared 21.1%, compared with February’s 7.0% drop, consumer spending picked up, adding 4.3% vs. the prior month’s decrease of 1.0%, and the consumer sentiment index was 88.3 in April vs. 86.5 in March. According to the CDC, 31% of Americans are now fully vaccinated. India’s COVID-19 crisis is worsening. Ranked #2 in the world (after the U.S.) in the total number of coronavirus cases, the nation is suffering a severe lack of hospital beds, drugs, and medical oxygen.
In the stock market, the benchmarks we track here were flat to slightly lower: the S&P 500 was unchanged for the week, closing at 4,181.17 on Friday, and the DJI eased to 33,874.85 (-0.5%), while the NASDAQ Composite ended at 13,962.68 (-0.4%). Some volatility flowed back into equities, as per CBOE’s VIX, which settled at 18.61 (+7.4%). The U.S. Dollar Index ticked up 0.5% to go out trading 91.29 at the week’s end. Commodities, as a group, kept strengthening, as evidenced by the S&P GSCI which penetrated the 500 mark, closing at 505.85 (+2.4%). This is its highest level in six and a half years (542.40 in November 2014).
Our recap keeps tabs on six of the metals markets, and they were mixed for the week. The star performer was spot palladium, which traded at an all-time high of $3,008 per ounce. NYMEX June palladium futures ended the week at $2,953.70 (+3.4%). It has rallied $500 per ounce since the start of 2021 (+20.4%), due to an acute supply shortage. The other three precious metals on our radar lost value. Their closing prices and percentage changes from the previous Friday were: gold at $1,767.70 (-0.6%), silver at $25.873 (-0.9%), and platinum at $1,205.20 (-2.3%). On the other hand, base metals continued to advance: copper settled at $4.4680 (+2.9%), and aluminum at $2,397.0 (+1.4%).
On the price charts, energy futures contracts continued their uptrends. NYMEX WTI added 0.6% to $63.58 per barrel. Likewise, Brent crude increased 0.7%, ending at $67.25 on Friday. U.S. refined products gained greater percentages than crude: heating oil rose 2.5%, closing the week at $1.9224, and RBOB gasoline added 3.6% to $2.0763 per gallon. Natural gas firmed by 4.0%, taking the June futures to $2.931 per mmBtu.
In the agriculture markets, the directional movement gave our slate of nine products a weekly score of seven higher vs. two lower. The gainers were: Soybeans at $15.34¼ per bushel (+1.2%), corn moved 6.4% higher, closing at $6.73¼, wheat went out at $7.34¾ (+3.2%), coffee, with its 2.1% rise, closed at 141.45, sugar at 16.98¢ (+0.6%), live cattle ended at 116.575 (+0.7%), and lean hogs popped 3.8% to 109.725 at settlement. The two contracts that lost value were: cotton at 88.08¢ per pound (-0.8%) and cocoa at $2,382 per ton (-2.8%). Cocoa prices plunged on Friday. After the Ivory Coast, the largest cocoa producer in the world, announced a 9% drop in the guaranteed price paid to cocoa farmers.
2021 World Cup Championship of Futures Trading®
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