Weekly Market Recap – August 7, 2020
In the Markets
US employers added 1.8 million jobs in July. The unemployment rate decreased to 10.2%. The new jobless benefit filings for the prior week fell to 1.2 million claims. Less than half of the job loss caused by the pandemic has been recovered. Congress made no progress in talks on a new stimulus package. The US number of positive COVID-19 tests approached 5 million, and the nationwide death toll hit the 161,000 mark before the weekend. The University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluations projected 300,000 US coronavirus fatalities by December 1st.
Lead by strength in the tech sector, stocks across the board showed steady gains throughout the week. The DJIA rose 1,005.16 (+3.8%) registering 27,433.48 as its Friday close; there was an 80.16 increase for the S&P 500 (+2.5%) closing at 3,351.28. NASDAQ’s composite index staged a 265.71 up move to 11,010.98 (+2.5%), as it continued making new record highs. The Russell 2000 surged with a 7.06 increase to 125.88 (+5.9%). Volatility in equities has eased considerably as CBOE’s VIX ended at 22.21 for a 2.25 retreat of 9.2%, the lowest weekly close since February 21st (17.08). In currency markets, the dollar weakened again, evidenced by the spot US Dollar Index, which ended at its lowest weekly close (93.39) since May 2018.
The broad up-trend in commodities is staying on course as the S&P GSCI rose 5.33 (+1.6%) to the 345.15 level, its highest weekly close in five months. The Trump administration announced the re-imposition of a 10% tariff on Canadian aluminum. On the LME, aluminum three-month forwards jumped 57.50 per ton (+3.4%), closing at 1,771.00 on Friday. CME copper took a dive after Codelco, the Chilean state run mining company, announced it would resume operations that were halted by the coronavirus in March. September futures fell to 2.7925, down 7.55¢ (-2.6%). Precious metals are in the spotlight again: futures for gold, silver, platinum and palladium all moved on the plus side: gold rose by $42.10 (+2.1%) to $2,028.00, silver increased by $3.32, to $27.540 (+13.7%), platinum gained $51.50 (+5.6%) to $970.40 and palladium firmed by $31.30 (+1.5%) to $2,176.60 per troy ounce.
On the energy futures charts, the crude and refined products are coasting sideways. CME crude oil prices rose, with September WTI ending Friday’s session at $41.22, which was up 95¢ (+2.4%). ICE Brent for October gained 88¢ (+2.0%) to settle at $44.40 per barrel. Products were mixed. Heating oil barely budged, adding 0.41¢ to close at its, settling at $1.2199 (-0.3%). RBOB gasoline rallied 3.65¢ (+3,1%), ending the week at $1.2076 per gallon. Natural gas, six weeks after making contract lows, has risen more than 60¢ from those lows (+40%). For the week, September natgas soared to a $2.238 settlement, up 43.9¢ per MMBtu (+24.4%).
In the ag sector, corn ended the week plunging into new contract lows, as December settled at $320¾¢ per bushel, down 6¼¢ (-1.9%). Soybeans, closing at $8.67½¢ on Friday, lost 25¢ (-2.8%) for the week. Wheat has now given back 75% of its July gains, having slipped in each day of the week, going out on Friday at $4.95½¢ for a weekly decline of 35¾¢ (-6.7%). Coffee broke its recent up-trend line on Friday, rendering the week’s move a 2.9% drop to a 115.45 close. Sugar printed its highest prices since March 10, but sold off on Friday, leaving the week’s net result a mere 3-tick improvement (+0.03%) with its 12.67 settlement. Cocoa is maintaining its strength, bolstered by the cheap US dollar, and by dry crop conditions in the Ivory Coast and Ghana. September futures rallied up to 2,546 on Friday, adding 146 to the price (+6.1%).
World Cup Trading Championships®
In Futures, Michael O’Keeffe has held the top position, based on the end of week standings, for the 17th week in a row with a 479.7% net return. Orhan Özcan held the 2nd spot with a net return of 280.8%. Yuwen Cao maintained 3rd with a net return of 216.4%. Stefano Serafini and Stefan Seibert rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 197.1% and 193.7% respectively.
In the Forex division, Nicholas Ridley claimed the top spot with a 225.3% return. Jan Smolen moved up to 2nd at 127.8%, with Sergey Shirko finishing the week in 3rd with a net return of 118.2%. Raul Glavan and Patrick Nill rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 105.3% and 72.4% respectively.
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Wayne Wan moved up to first with a net return of 96.5%, with Adrian Koemel following in 2nd at 62.8%. 3rd place is currently held by Jan Smolen with a net return of 52.7%. M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG and Stefan Seibert finished the week in 4th and 5th at 48.5% and 34.9% respectively.
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