Weekly Market Recap – December 31, 2021
As the year was winding down, pandemic news continued ramping up. The U.S. COVID-19 death toll for 2021 was roughly 435,000 compared with 385,000 in 2020 (a 13% increase).
Although the holiday week that closed 2021 was a full 5 days long, it was short on economic statistics. Weekly initial jobless claims were 198,000 (vs. the previous 206,000). The S&P Case-Shiller home price index came in at 19.1% vs. 19.7% (on a year-over-year basis). November pending home sales dropped 2.2% in comparison to October’s +7.5% jump. The U.S trade deficit soared to a record -$97.8 billion (vs. -$83.2 billion the prior month), as imports surged over exports, the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index rose to 63.1, exceeding the 61.8 number for the previous month.
Two of the three stock market indices we track moved higher for the week. The S&P 500 finished at 4,766.18 (+0.9%), and the DJIA went out at 36,338.30 (+1.1%). Both hit their all-time highs in Thursday’s session. On the other hand, the NASDAQ Composite slipped 0.1% for the week, ending at 15,644.97 on Friday; its all-time high was five weeks earlier, trading at 16,212.23 on November 22nd. CBOE’s VIX indicated a 4.1% drop in equities volatility; the index closed at 17.22. In currencies, the dollar eased a bit, the U.S. Dollar Index closed at 95.67 (-0.4%). As for the S&P GSCI, futures of physical commodities were slightly higher with the index settling at 561.18 (+0.5%).
Precious and base metal futures were mixed. Their closing prices and percentage movements were as follows: gold at $1,828.60 (+0.9%), silver at $23.352 (+1.8%), platinum at $966.20 (-0.6%), palladium at $1,912.10 (-2.3%), copper at $4.4635 (+1.6%) and aluminum at $2,807.50 (-1.0%).
Energy sector futures contracts on our radar all increased. WTI crude oil rose to $75.21 (+1.9%) and Brent crude advanced 4.2%, ending at $79.32 per barrel. In refined products, heating oil settled at $2.3253 (+0.1%) and RBOB gasoline advanced to $2.2246 per gallon (+1.0%). Natural gas had its first upward week in a month, rising 2.8%, as the spot contract closed at $3.730 per mmBtu.
For the agricultural markets that we monitor, the score was three higher and six lower. Friday settlement results were: soybeans at $13.39¼ (-0.1%), corn at $5.93¼ (-2.1%), wheat at $7.70¾ (-5.4%), coffee at $2.2610 (-2.2%), sugar at 18.88¢ (-1.9%), cocoa at $2,520 (+1.9%), cotton at $112.60¢ (+3.2%), live cattle at 139.700 (+0.1%), and lean hogs at 81.475 (-2.1%)
The largest 2021 percentage movements in the markets we report were all on the plus side. In the stock indexes, the S&P 500 showed a 27% gain for the year. The biggest mover in metals was aluminum (+42%), in energy, the petroleum complex showed increases from 53% to 57%, and natural gas ended with a 46% gain. Finally, the percentage leader in commodities was in the ag sector, where the price of coffee showed a 74% surge over the year.
Futures Referenced in Market Recap
|NYMEX||ULSD (Heating Oil)||February|
|LME||Aluminum||3 Mo. Forward|
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