Weekly Market Recap – February 19, 2021
In the Markets
The 821,000 initial jobless claims total was the highest in a month; there are a total of 18.3 million unemployed U.S. workers. Retail sales reported for January increased 5.3%, compared with December’s 1.4%. Industrial production rose 0.9%, a bit weaker than the prior month’s +1.3%. The PPI for January rose 1.3%, vs. 0.4% for December. There were 1.58 million housing starts in January vs. the previous 1.67 million (-5.4%). The COVID-19 news reported that the half-million U.S. death toll is approaching, as positivity rates, hospitalizations, and daily deaths are falling. Vaccination distribution is starting to improve. By the week’s end, although electric power was returning to millions in Texas, there were 13 million Texans under a boil-water advisory.
Stock market indices that we cover were mostly weaker except for the DJIA, which managed only a 0.1% rise, ending at 31,494.32 for the week. For the Russell 2000, ending at 181.64, the move was down by 0.1%, the S&P 500 closed at 3,906.71 (-0.7%) and the NASDAQ Composite dipped to 13,874,46 (-1.6%). Volatility flowed back into stock options as the 10.4% gain in the CBOE VIX settled the index at 22.05. The U.S. Dollar Index hardly budged (-0.1%), with its 90.34 final value at Friday’s close. Commodities continue to advance, as evidenced by the S&P GSCI, which gained 1.3% with its 470.08 close, the highest end-of-week close since early October in 2018.
The metals futures we focus on in our recap were mixed, closing as follows: gold ended at $1,777.40 (-2.5%), silver at $27.254 (-0.3%), platinum at $1,293.10 (+2.7%), palladium at $2,369.20 (-0.6%), copper at $4.0740 (+7.6%) and aluminum at $2,131.50 (+2.0%).
In the energy futures sector, there is still in an uptrend on the charts, however, some Friday news pertaining to an increase in Saudi production seemed to cause a slight pullback in NYMEX WTI (-0.4%) to $59.24 per barrel. Brent also slipped a bit on Friday, yet kept its weekly gain (+0.8%) with its $62.91 settlement. U.S. refined products maintained strength: heating oil added 2.9%, closing the week at $1.8229 and RBOB gasoline climbed 6.8% to $1.8069 per gallon. Natural had a volatile week as the arctic temperatures in Texas and Oklahoma froze wells; even the gas flow in pipelines was impeded by the sub zero conditions. NYMEX Henry Hub natgas was up 6.7%, ending at $3.069 per mmBtu.
With respect to the agriculture markets, we saw another week with more advances than retreats. Seven of the nine products we feature here had price increases. The two livestock futures we track were in the minus column: with cattle easing 1.2% to 123.675 and hogs slipping 0.8% to 84.500 at the close. The settlement prices for the gainers were: soybeans at $13.77¼ (+0.4%), corn at $5.42¾ (0.7%), wheat at $6.50¾ (+2.2%), coffee at 129.15 (+5.0%), sugar at 16.89¢ (+8.0%), cocoa at $2,443 (+0.4%) and cotton at 90.48¢ per pound (+2.1%).
World Cup Trading Championships®
In the 2021 World Cup Trading Championships® Futures division, Jurg Diemand finished the week in 1st with a 57.1% net return. Adrian Koemel finished 2nd with a net return of 50.8%. Weichou Chen finished 3rd with a net return of 44.9%. Stefan Seibert and Liberato Adamo rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 33.5% and 32.8% respectively.
In the 2021 World Cup Trading Championships® Forex division, Raul Glavan finished the week in 1st with a 97.2% net return. Robert Miner took 2nd with a 94.6% net return, followed by Sergey Shirko taking 3rd with a net return of 39.9%. Erik Gandino and Michele Di Gregorio rounded out the top 5 with net returns of 35.8% and 34.4% respectively.
In the futures division of the 2020-2021 Global Cup Trading Championship, Stefan Seibert finished the week in 1st with a net return of 178.9%. Jan Smolen finished the week in 2nd with a 165.9% net return. 3rd place is currently held by M. Vontobel of Tirutrade AG with a net return of 80.1%. Adrian Koemel and Patrick Nill finished the week in 4th and 5th with 73% and 58% 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.