Weekly Market Recap – April 9, 2021
In the Markets
The Federal Reserve released its monthly report that outstanding consumer credit, a vital sign of the economy, increased in February at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 7.9%.
Balance of trade, reported by the Department of Commerce, for February, showed the deficit grew by $71.1 billion, compared with January’s $67.8 billion trade flow. Producer prices were up 1.0% vs. the prior month’s 0.5% increase, and February wholesale inventories increased 0.6%; the January change was +1.4%. February factory orders fell 0.8% vs. +2.7% in January, initial jobless claims, the pulse of the nations’ workforce, ticked higher again rising by 744,000 compared with the previous week’s 728,000. On Wednesday, the Biden administration unveiled a plan to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and also limit the ability of domestic corporations to avoid taxes by shifting their profits offshore. The “UK variant” (B.1.1.7.) is now the dominant strain of coronavirus in the U.S., as hospitalizations rise again. Currently, the states hardest hit are Michigan, Texas, Georgia, and Florida.
Three of the four stock market benchmarks covered in our recap had strong performances. The Russell 2000 slipped a bit (-0.5%) to 179.80, while the others advanced. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 33,800.60 with a 2.0% rise. The S&P 500 added 2.7%, trading 4,128.80 at the close. The NASDAQ Composite went out at 13,900.19 (+3.1% for the week). CBOE’s VIX settled at 16.69 (-3.7%), its lowest end-of-week close since February 14, 2020. The U.S. Dollar Index lost ground, moving 0.8% lower to 92.18 at settlement. Commodity prices were mixed, as evidenced by the S&P GSCI, reflecting the weakness in energy countered by strength in metals and agricultural products. The index eased 0.5%, ending the week at 471.50, its lowest level in seven weeks.
The futures we follow in the metals markets mostly moved to the plus side: gold ended at $1,744.80 (+0.9%), silver settled at $25.325 (+1.5%), platinum added 0.1% to $1,209.30 per ounce, aluminum rose 2.3% to close at $2,264.00 and copper increased 1.2% to $4.0400 per pound. Only one of our featured metals went negative: June palladium lost 0.7%, printing $2,636.00 at the close.
Falling energy prices for the week pointed to returning demand concerns about the coronavirus, coupled with rising supplies. Prices were down, across the board: NYMEX WTI ended at $59.32 per barrel (-3.5%) and ICE Brent dropped 2.9% to its $62.95 settlement. May heating oil retreated 1.3% to close at $1.8076 per gallon, while RBOB gasoline decreased to $1.9621 (-3.0%). Natural gas continued to sink, taking a 4.3% hit down to $2.526 per MMBtu, the lowest Friday close since January 22nd.
Regarding the agriculture markets, the week saw most of our featured products move higher, only cocoa declined, losing 1.6% to end the Friday session at $2,354 per ton, the lowest close for the May contract since mid-November. For the week’s gainers, the settlements stacked up like this: soybeans at $14.03 (+0.1%), corn at $5.77¼ (3.1%), wheat at $6.38¾ (+4.5%), coffee at 127.25 (+4.6%), sugar at 15.46¢ (+5.1%), cotton at 82.40¢ per pound (+5.7%), live cattle at 123.425 (+2.8%), and lean hogs at 103.475 (+1.7%).
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