Weekly Market Recap – December 31, 2020
In the Markets
This shortened holiday week was also short on economic statistics. The weekly initial jobless claims were 835,000 vs. 803,000 the previous week. Pandemic statistics are continuing to worsen; the US death toll is now more than 350,000. The stimulus bill was signed. The Brexit trade separation between UK and the EU is now a reality.
This week, our recap highlights the final 2020 year-end changes in the markets we cover. For the weekly changes, the DJIA rose 406.61 (+1.3%), closing at 30,606.48 on Friday: (YTD +7.2%). The S&P 500 added 53.01 points, ending at 3,756.07 (+1.4%): (YTD +16.3%). The NASDAQ Composite closed the week 83.55 higher (+0.7%) at 12,888.28: (YTD +43.6%); and the Russell 2000 slipped 1.5% with a 2.37 decrease for the week, taking it to 123.53 at the close: (YTD + 18.9%). Volatility rose in stocks last week as CBOE’s VIX rose 1.02 (+4.7%), ending on Friday at 22.75: (YTD +65.1%). The US Dollar Index reversed the previous week’s gain, easing 0.4 (-0.4%) with an 89.92 settlement: (YTD -6.8%). Commodity prices that make up the S&P GSCI returned to their aggregate upward trend adding 4.79 points (+1.2%) and closed at a ten-month high of 409.45: (YTD -6.8%).
In the metals sector, the week saw a divergence between the precious and base categories. Copper and aluminum, having shown steady physical demand in recent weeks, both took a downturn. CME copper lost 4.35¢ (1.2%), closing at $3.5190/lb.: (YTD +24.5%). LME aluminum eased $50.50 to $1,979.50/ton (-2.5%): (YTD +29.4%). On the other hand, the bullion markets stayed in the plus column. Friday’s February gold close was $1,895.10 from its $11.90 rise (+0.6%): (YTD +22.2%). Silver traders applied a bit more buying pressure, raising the price by 50.4¢ (+1.9%) to a $26.412 settlement: (YTD +44.6%). January platinum fared even better for the week (+4.5%), adding $46.50 to end at $1,075.40 per ounce: (YTD +8.3%). Palladium prices followed suit, as March contracts advanced $107.90 (+4.6%), closing at $2,453.80/oz.: (YTD +29.4%).
Energy futures ended the month, and year, with a week that was uneventful, but all the products we follow here showed consistent YTD weakness. February WTI closed at $48.52, which was up 29¢ (+0.6%). ICE Brent firmed 0.9%, gaining 46¢ to settle at $51.80 per barrel. The YTD change for these crude oil benchmarks was down 14.03% for the former, and down 15.94% for the latter. Refined products were mixed, as heating oil lost 1.37¢ cents to close at $1.4763 (-0.9%): (YTD -25.6%), while RBOB gasoline rose 2.95¢ cents (+2.1%), settling at $1.4084: (YTD -25.1%). Natural gas traders took a breather from the winter forecast tug-of-war, settling the February contract at $2.539 per MMBtu. The percentage move was a 1.1% increase for the week and a 2.45% loss, year-to-date.
In our overview for the agricultural commodities that we follow here, all nine increased for the week, although, on the YTD scale, it was six up vs. three down. The softs showed strength, mostly on the back of the weakening US dollar, with coffee up 2.30 to 128.25 (+1.8%) from the previous Friday: (YTD -4.3%). Sugar shot into the 15¢ level, rallying 0.59¢ (+4.0%) to its 15.49 settlement: (YTD +13.4%). Cocoa, for the week, added only $10 (+0.4%), closing at $2,603 per ton: (YTD +5.5%). March cotton increased 1.92¢ (+2.5%) to end at 78.12: (YTD +10.1%). In the livestock, cattle futures had a fractional gain of 0.050 (+0.04%) to a 115.025 close: (YTD -3.0%). Hogs ended at 70.275 for February, increasing 3.325 (+5.0%): (YTD -6.4%). Wheat settled at $6.40½ per bushel, up 13½¢ (+2.2%): (YTD +33.8%). Corn, with its $4.94 close, advanced 33¢ (+7.3%) for the week. Soybeans went out at $13.11 after rallying 46½¢ (+3.7%): (YTD +33.8%).
World Cup Trading Championships®
In Futures, Stefan Seibert finished in 1st with a 342.3% net return. Brent Carlile took 2nd with a net return of 287.9%. Yuwen Cao took 3rd with a net return of 262.9%. Michael O’Keeffe and Evgeny Kartashov rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 249% and 165.8% respectively. (Final Pending Audit)
In the Forex division, Jan Smolen finished in 1st with a 113.9% net return. Scott Welsh took 2nd with a 78.7% net return, followed by Sergey Shirko taking 3rd with a net return of 61.8%. Irwan Ariston and Oliver Bjoerklund rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 51% and 19.7% respectively. (Final Pending Audit)
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG moved up to 1st with a net return of 157.4%. Jan Smolen finished the week in 2nd with a 139.5% net return. 3rd place is currently held by Stefan Seibert with a net return of 135%. Cristian Franchi and Fernando C. Piñeiro finished the week in 4th and 5th with 107.8% and 91.1% net returns respectively.
Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. World Cup Championship (WCC ) accounts do not necessarily represent all the trading accounts controlled by a given competitor. WCC competitors may control accounts that produce results substantially different than the results achieved in their WCC accounts. WCC entrants may trade more than one account in the competition. CME Group is the trademark of CME Group, Inc. The Globe logo is a trademark of Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc.