Weekly Market Recap – December 17, 2021
COVID-19 statistics have dominated the news every day of the week. The Omicron variant has now been detected in all 50 states. Congress gave final approval to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion.
Monthly economic statistics, compared with previous levels, were as follows: the producer price index +0.8% vs. +0.6%, retail sales +0.3% vs. +1.8%, business inventories +1.2% vs. +1.2%, housing starts 1.68 million vs. 1.50 million, building permits 1.71 vs.1.65 million, industrial production +0.5% vs. +1.7%, capacity utilization 76.8% vs. 76.5%, and PMI for manufacturing 57.7 vs. 58.3. Weekly initial jobless claims rose to 206,000 vs. 188,000 the prior week.
Stock indices retreated. The DJIA ended the week at 35,365.44 (-1.7%), the S&P 500 finished at 4,620.64 (-1.9%), and the NASDAQ Composite closed at 15,169.68 (-2.9%). CBOE’s VIX settled at 21.57 (+15.4%), and the U.S Dollar Index inched up 0.6%, ending at 96.67 on Friday. The commodities in the S&P GSCI futures portfolio decreased slightly to close the index at 540.28 (-0.7%).
The six metal futures we track here strengthened in varying degrees, and all ended in the plus column. The final prices and corresponding percentage increases were: gold at $1,804.90 (+1.1%), silver at $22.533 (+1.5%), platinum at $934.50 (+0.03%), palladium at $1,784.80 (+2.0%), and copper at $4.2950 (+0.2%). Aluminum jumped 4.5%, with the LME Friday settlement at $2,724.50 per metric ton, its highest end-of-week close since late October.
Our recap follows five energy futures contracts, and they all declined. Their settlements and percentage losses were as follows: WTI crude at $70.86 per barrel (-1.1%), Brent crude at $73.52 (-2.2%), ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel at $2.2199 per gallon (-1.4%), and RBOB gasoline at $2.1217 (-0.7%) and natural gas tumbled to $3.690 per mmBtu (-6.0%), its lowest Friday close since mid-June.
In terms of directional movement, the nine agricultural futures we monitor were mixed, with four decreasing and five increasing. The contracts that lost value were: wheat at $7.75 (-1.3%), sugar at 19.11¢ (-3.0%), live cattle at 136.425 (-1.2%), and lean hogs at 80.800 (-0.3%). The gainers were: soybeans at $12.85¼ (+1.4%), corn at $5.93¼ (+0.6%), coffee at $2.3475 (+0.9%), cocoa at $2,497 (+1.3%), and cotton closed at 107.30¢ (+1.0%).
Futures Referenced in Market Recap
|NYMEX||ULSD (Heating Oil)||January|
|LME||Aluminum||3 Mo. Forward|
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