Weekly Market Recap – April 6, 2023

Finland officially joined NATO on Tuesday. Its 830-mile eastern border is the longest Russia now has with any NATO member. This more than doubles the total combined borders with NATO members that Russia has to 1,584. French President Emmanuel Macron, along with more than fifty French business leaders and CEOs, visited China to discuss business deals to shore up trade ties with Europe in energy, tourism, and entertainment. OPEC announced it plans to cut oil production by more than 1.6 million barrels a day starting in May, which sent oil prices surging. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. filed paperwork to run for president in the 2024 election.

Monthly economic statistics compared to their previous levels were: construction spending -0.1% vs. +0.4%, factory orders -0.7% vs.-2.1%, job openings 9.9 million vs. 10.6 million, U.S. trade balance -$70.5 billion vs. -$68.7 billion, consumer credit $15.3 billion vs. $19.5 billion, employment report 236,000 vs. 326,000 and the unemployment rate 3.5% vs. 3.6%. Weekly employment stats showed initial jobless claims at 228,000 vs. 246,000 and continuing claims unchanged at 1.82 million.

As the second quarter of 2023 kicked off, performance in the U.S. stock market was uneventful. For the indices, we track, weekly changes were: DJIA at 33,485.29 (+0.6%), S&P 500 at 4,105.02 (-0.1%), and the NASDAQ Composite at 12,087.96 (-1.1%). Volatility eased a bit in equities, indicated by the CBOE VIX ticking down to 18.40 (-16%). In currencies, USD Index futures went out at 101.730 (-0.4%) on Friday, unlike the other contracts which did not trade on Friday. The commodities sector moved higher (+2.6%), according to the S&P GSCI’s 588.68 close.

The metals futures contracts we monitor were mixed. Settlements and weekly percentage changes were: gold at $2,026.40 (+2.0%), silver at $25.093 (+3.9%), platinum at $1,016.80 (+1.4%), palladium at $1,462.40 (-0.4%), copper at $4.0155 (-1.9%) and aluminum at $2,333.50 (-3.3%).

In our recap, the main sub-categories in the energy futures sector are the petroleum family and methane (natural gas). Regarding price movement, these two groups traded in opposite directions. Due to the OPEC production announcement referenced above, the former strengthened, and the latter weakened. For the week, the final results and corresponding percentages looked like this: West Texas Intermediate crude at $80.70/bbl (+6.6%), Brent crude at $85.12 (+6.5%), heating oil at $2.6605 per gallon (+1.5%), RBOB gasoline at $2.8133 (+4.9%), NYMEX natural gas at $2.011 per MMBtu (-9.3%), and ICE Dutch gas at €43.125 per MWh (-9.9%).

In the agricultural futures markets, weekly trend movements for the nine products we track were five higher and four lower. The gainers were: coffee at $1.8360 (+7.7%), sugar at 23.61¢ (+6.1%), cotton at 83.20¢ (+0.5%), and live cattle at 163.100 (+0.6%). The contracts that fell into the red were: soybeans at $14.92½ (-0.9%), corn at $6.43½ (-2.6%), wheat at $6.75½ (-2.4%), cocoa at $2,919 (-0.5%) and lean hogs at 88.175 (-3.8%).


Futures Referenced in Market Recap

ExchangeCommodityContract Month
CMELive CattleJune
CMELean HogsJune
ICEBrent CrudeMay
ICEDutch TTF GasMay
ICEUSD IndexJune
NYMEXULSD (Heating Oil)May
NYMEXRBOB (Gasoline)May
NYMEXNatural GasMay
LMEAluminum3 Mo. Forward

Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone.

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